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Fears over potential £300m investment

ULVERSTON could be on an “uneven playing field” after a rival site competing to be the home of a £300m investment was handed a boost.

By Amy Fenton

The Scottish government has created an Enterprise Zone in Irvine – one of the three sites competing with GlaxoSmithKline’s Ulverston factory to be the home of a £300m biopharmaceutical plant.

The new zone will be similar to those created in England and Wales, but is specified by industry sector rather than geography, and could see Irvine benefit from reduced business rates and a streamlined planning process.

The leader of Irvine’s local council, Councillor David O’Neill, said the announcement “should strengthen Irvine’s case for the proposed biopharmaceutical plant”, something which has sparked fears Ulverston could be at a disadvantage.

At a meeting yesterday in Westminster, MPs and representatives from Cumbria’s Local Enterprise Partnership voiced their concerns over the rival site’s boost.

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock said: “Ulverston would be a superb site for Glaxo’s new biopharmaceutical plant and its accomplished workforce would excel in the field. But this out-of-touch Conservative-led government needs to get its finger out to prevent Ulverston losing out to Scottish sites.

“Ministers insisted everything would be OK when I raised my concerns with them last year, but the way they are depriving English regions of the means to support businesses risks creating an uneven playing field that could see Ulverston missing out.”

GlaxoSmithKline yesterday released its annual figures for 2011, which revealed turnover fell two per cent in the three months to the end of 2011, leaving full-year sales down three per cent at £27.4bn.

Yesterday’s results revealed underlying profits rose 65 per cent to £8.4bn after Glaxo came up against weak figures from the previous year when it paid out £4bn in legal claims over the alleged side-effects of some of its drugs.

And in the final quarter of the year it swung back to profit after it incurred £2.2bn in legal charges the previous year.

The company said sales and profit margins will return to growth in 2012 as its efforts to produce new drugs begin to pay off.

Have your say

A typical tribal comment from Mr Woodcock. We need to allwork together WITH the Governmnet to be in with a chance of getting the investment. Opposition Vitriol is not required. Get with it Woodcock!

Posted by Jay on 13 February 2012 at 11:27

We'd best expect the Scots to get it then, poor ethnic minority, bullied for years by the English, whinge whinge, look at the Clyde shipbuilders, they've robbed English Yards blind for work by dint of being marginal seats at a Parliament they now think they no longer need! Move the goalposts and help us, Westminster!

Posted by Phil Adelphia on 10 February 2012 at 09:01

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