Sunday, 13 February 2011

Employees and Contractors from Pfizer

Yesterday all the local MPs Roger Gale, Charlie Elphicke, Julian Brazier and myself met with staff and contractors in Sandwich. This was an extremely useful meeting, very good to be able to discuss with employees and contractors the issues that they face and to be able to update them on the work that is being done to secure their jobs into the future.

We will be holding a similar event in the next few weeks to ensure that staff and contractors know what is happening and can raise concerns that they have for their personal future or for the community as a whole. Please do pass this to anyone who is a Pfizer employee or who works on the site so that they can be in touch with us by email – or see notices on

What is crucial is that we have a united team working together to find a secure and sustainable future for the site and to retain this important employment in East Kent and with the determination of the local East Kent MPs and the support from government we are already taking some important steps to address these challenges.

We have been given the resources of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills with the personal attention of the Minister David Willetts and the Secretary of State Vince Cable, who have established a taskforce, chaired by Paul Carter, to secure investment for the site and stabilise local jobs and skills. As part of that Taskforce I am totally focused on ensuing that the jobs stay in East Kent, that the world class site is used to its potential and that other parts of the site are regenerated to ensure a long term future for research and other activities in East Kent.

Earlier in the week, the Minister for Science joined me for a meeting with Pfizer. The company knows that they have an important commitment to the community, to their staff and to the future of the site. But it is ultimately the quality of the staff that matter, the skills that we are so proud of, the role that each of our constituents play in the wider community and their families who attend our schools and use our high streets. I urge existing Pfizer staff to wait for some of these exciting new developments to come to fruition before dusting off their CVs. These last few long days have shown me that our staff and the site are of importance to more than just the local community – we have a national asset.


  1. If you are going to regenerate the Pfizer site into a science park and encourage investment, transport links must be improved. To stabilise local jobs and skills you will need to encourage businesses from outside the area possibly international. Business and science parks which have achieved this have had good transport links and although the road network has had some improvement rail has had none.

    If immediate priority was given to including Deal and Sandwich train stations into the highspeed network which is easily achievable, then the Pfizer site would become much more desirable for inward investment.

  2. There is talk that the High Speed service will be extended for the British Open at Sandwich this year so it can be done.

  3. On teletext this morning it is reported that China is destined to become the worlds largest economy. Hardly a week goes by where it is reported in finacial papers that China has bought into a energy or mineral resource somewhere in the world.
    I noticed last week that by planning wind farms inland it is now acting in the national interest as they are regarded as a national assett which we all agree is a good thing. The emphasis on keeping the Pfizer site open does appear to fall in the same catergory , a national assett working for the national interest which we all agree. Luara the MP for South Thanet since she become elected has raised the question of food security for this country, another point we can all agree on.
    Ken Clarke has been pretty open on the state of the dire state of the economy plus it has been reported that our national computor systems are subject to cyber attack.
    All long term serious stuff which we all share the same concerns after all it is all in the national interest.
    So why on earth is David Cameron banging on so much about the big society when there is so much to be considered in the long term future of the national interest.

  4. Whilst there is much to be concerned about, the big society, which is just a catch phrase for good neighbourlyness, is part and parcel of improving our nation and there is absolutely no reason why it should not proceed alongside other projects. Perhaps one of the biggest worries when it comes to food, and energy, security or our capability to withstand cyber attack, is the state of our nations civil service.

    A monster has grown in our midst which is more about self serving than civil service. As John Reid said of the Home Office a while back, that it was not fit for the purpose, the same is true elsewhere. As our armed forces face draconian cuts, the overweight civilian MOD is largely unscathed and threateninng action if their jobs and perks are threatened. The Inland Revenue lurches from mistake to mistake, frequently causing serious hardship to taxpayers in the process. The NHS loses records and leaks money like a sieve. Most departments no longer offer value for money.

    To think we, as a nation, gave our once proud civil service system to half the world and now ours is creaking at the seams because too many people in it forgot what the word service means.

    That is where our priorities should lie but the battle would be fierce.

  5. Bluenote, you certainly can paint a grim picture of things and qouoting John Reid like that is really clutching at straws. Like most Conservative commentators the grim is becoming a trend to justify draconian behaviour.
    The wheels of government are not perfect but it is still best the method to deliver services to the public at large and provide stable employment and economic stability.
    Look at the way troops are being treated, sacked by email. RAF trainee pilots courses terminated before they can reach qualification, Police numbers to be cut at a time when we are going to need more law on order, general election promises being broken like the recruitment of midwives.It is becoming clear that it is not people who have forgotten what service means but but central government itself.

  6. 4:36 Just who do you think sent out the emails but civil servants. Whilst these soldiers that have served us, along with the young pilots, are treated like dirt, an MOD civilian driver, off sick with a stress related illness, teaches surfing on the beach in summer and drives wedding hire cars year round whilst collecting his civil service sick pay. But one of numerous examples I could quote.

    If you think the present civil service is the best way to deliver to the public, heaven help our poor, sad nation. See you call me a Conservative commentator but do you really think I support what passes for governance at the moment. You must be confusing me with somebody else.

    Bowing to the EU; giving millions to nations with nuclear weapons and space programmes; messing about with same sex marriages in church, surely a matter for the churches themselves not government; still saddled with the Human Rights legislation that was to be replaced; scrapping our nation's defences and playing around with immigration caps that achieve nothing is hardly to my taste. Sadly, whether or not you agree with it, in my book this is just a continuation of the disaster that was Brown's government with little more than window dressing changes.

    I once hoped, but now I am convinced that it really makes little difference who we elect. The die is cast so maybe that explains my grim picture.

  7. Bluenote,

    I apologise for calling you a Conservative commentator. While agreeing with you on some points and disagreeing on others, it is obvious we see things different politicaly.
    However, I thing we can both agree 100% that we live in a world gone mad.

  8. A very fair summary of our time, Tony B. Worse, we no longer have the option of emigrating, like our forefathers, for most places seem to be in the same chaotic state.


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