Page last updated at 13:27 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Group to discuss AstraZeneca job loss crisis

AstraZeneca in Leicestershire
The Loughborough plant will close with the loss of 1,200 jobs

A group set up to respond to the loss of a major Leicestershire employer has met for the first time.

Drug company AstraZeneca announced on Tuesday it would close its Loughborough plant with the loss of 1,200 jobs.

Many traders in the area, including shops and hotels, said they feared the move would have a far wider impact on the local economy.

The group - made up of local business leaders and politicians - has discussed ways of minimising the problems.

The closure is part of a global restructuring of the pharmaceutical giant, which is shedding about 8,000 posts.

Unity appeal

Managers from AstraZeneca also attended the meeting, hosted by Charnwood Borough Council, to detail how the closure is to be managed.

Mike Preston, leader of Charnwood Borough Council, said: "This announcement is undoubtedly a huge blow to Loughborough and the surrounding area.

"We are moving as quickly as we can to see what we can do in terms of reducing the impact of that blow as much as possible.

"It is early days but I think it is important everyone works together to address this now."

Loughborough MP Andy Reed raised the issue at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday and was told the government would be doing all it could.


Martin Traynor of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce said the meeting was 'positive'

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