Row erupts after Pfizer axes UK jobs

A POLITICAL row erupted yesterday following US drug giant Pfizer’s decision to close its primary British research centre, in a embarrassing twist for the coalition government.

Prime Minister David Cameron promised last month to boost investment in pharmaceuticals with a raft of policies including a tax break on profits derived from patents.

Yet yesterday he was forced to admit the closure of the US pharmaceutical firm’s Kent research and development base was “bad news”.

Shadow business secretary John Denham blamed the closure – which will results in the loss of 2,400 high value research jobs – on the government’s failure to back high-tech industries.

Speaking in a Commons debate Denham said: “The truth is that the Prime Minister has been snubbed, the government and the business department just weren’t even players in this huge decision.”

Yet business secretary Vince Cable defended the government’s role and announced plans for a task force to mitigate the impact of the loss of jobs in the local area.