Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Brain Drain' Hammer Blow as Research Centre Axed by Drug Giant ; 700 JOBS AT RISK OF REDUNDANCY AND 1,600 SET TO MOVE SOUTHIN ASTRAZENECA BOMBSHELLOnly 700 out of 3,000 Staff Will Be Left at Site 'Disastrous' Move for Knowledge Economy

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Brain Drain' Hammer Blow as Research Centre Axed by Drug Giant ; 700 JOBS AT RISK OF REDUNDANCY AND 1,600 SET TO MOVE SOUTHIN ASTRAZENECA BOMBSHELLOnly 700 out of 3,000 Staff Will Be Left at Site 'Disastrous' Move for Knowledge Economy

Article excerpt

GREATER Manchester has been struck a hammer blow - with a flagship science firm slashing jobs at a key research site.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca is shutting its research and development centre at Alderley Park in Cheshire - putting 700 jobs at risk of redundancy.

And 1,600 staff will be asked to re-locate by 2016 - the majority to a new Pounds 330 million base being built in Cambridge.

The company said only 700 of the existing 3,000-strong workforce at the site would still be there in three years.

The news comes as a huge blow to the region's plans to become a so-called 'knowledge economy', linking cutting-edge scientific research to big business.

That transformation - taking 'VERY Manchester from 'rainy city' to 'brainy city' - has been put at the heart of the region's economic future.

AstraZeneca, which employs 6,700 people in the UK and reported a 38pc drop in profits last year, said the decision was taken on business grounds.

The company said it wanted to move its scientists closer together - and said Cambridge had more and better links with universities, hospitals and other centres of excellence. But unions described the move as 'disastrous', warning it would spark a major 'skills drain' from the region.

Unite's national officer Linda McCulloch said: "Staff will be shell-shocked by this announcement.

"Skilled scientific jobs are in short supply and there are many families based around Alderley Park with deep roots in the community.

It is going to be a real struggle to relocate families hundreds of miles away to Cambridge. …

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