GSK in £500m manufacturing investment

GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's biggest drugmaker, confirmed plans to invest more than £500m in manufacturing in Britain as it selected a north of England location for a previously announced biotech plant.

The news - though expected - is a boost for Prime Minister David Cameron, who has made wooing the pharmaceuticals industry a priority in the wake of Pfizer's 2011 decision to shutter its giant research centre in Sandwich, southern England.

GSK had said on previous occasions it aimed to invest some £500m and bring more jobs to Britain in response to government plans to cut the level of corporation tax applied to income from patents - a move known as a "patent box".

The confirmation of its investment, which will create up to 1,000 jobs, comes the day after finance minister George Osborne's budget in which he laid out business-friendly tax plans, including reiterating the patent box plan.

GSK said its new biopharmaceutical factory would be built in Ulverston, northern England, at a cost of £350m, with construction expected to start in 2014 or 2015. The firm had looked at four possible sites in England and Scotland.

At the same time GSK will invest more than £100m in its two manufacturing sites in Scotland and the company is considering further investment at Ulverston which could double the total spend there to some £700m.