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GSK announces plans to close Slough's Horlicks factory

James Hockaday

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced plans to close Slough's iconic Horlicks factory as part of changes to its UK manufacturing network.

The multi-billion pharmaceutical firm said yesterday (Wednesday) it intends on closing the Stoke Poges Lane factory and outsource some of its manufacturing at its Worthing site.

The proposals for Slough and Worthing would amount to a loss of 320 permanent jobs over the next four years.

GSK says this is subject to employee consultation which will begin immediately.

The Slough factory employs 73 people. 

A spokeswoman for the firm said GSK would offer to move employees into other positions where possible and would offer support to those who cannot be moved.

Slough’s instantly recognisable Horlicks factory dates back to 1908 and was known for producing non-perishable malted milk tablets for soldiers during the First World War.

The company has also said it plans on selling its Horlicks and MaxiNutrition brands in the UK.

GSK employs a total of about 17,000 people across the UK, 5,000 of whom are in UK manufacturing operations.

Between now and 2020, GSK plans to invest more than £140m at its sites in Ware in Hertfordshire, Barnard Castle in County Durham and Montrose in Scotland.

The investments will support expansion of manufacturing for respiratory and HIV medicines.

This new investment is in addition to the £275m announced last year and investment of over £1.2bn in UK manufacturing since 2012.

GSK's president of global affairs Philip Thomson said: "We are continuing to invest in science and our core businesses in the UK and we continue to see the UK as an attractive place for the life sciences industry.

"We are working constructively with the government and others to develop an ambitious plan for the sector as part of the UK’s new industrial strategy."

GSK says its decisions have not resulted from the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

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