Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, and Prime Minister, David Cameron, today visited Unilever’s Port Sunlight factory, IT and research and development (R&D) hub in Merseyside to welcome the company’s plans to expand in the region with a £200 million investment that will secure jobs for the future.
The investment, which provides a further sign of support in the Prime Minister and Chancellor’s long-term economic plan will see the opening of a new global IT centre, the completion of the construction of a new personal care factory, producing British brands including TRESemmé and Radox, and several new R&D facilities in collaboration with north-west academic institutions. It will also help enable the north-west to continue to be one of the most innovative regions in the country.
Unilever, founded in the model village of Port Sunlight more than 125 years ago by William Lever, is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies and employs more than 2,500 people at its Port Sunlight site. With roles created in the new factory, the historic home of the Anglo-Dutch multi-national will be home to more than one third of the UK workforce, making it one of the company’s key global R&D, manufacturing and IT hubs.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
Unilever is an iconic company that exports around the world. Their decision to invest £200 million in their Port Sunlight site secures jobs for the future and is fantastic news for the region and a vote of confidence in the UK.
These highly skilled jobs in this export industry are exactly the kind of opportunities we want to see created which is why in last month’s Autumn Statement I provided further incentives for R&D in the UK. I want Britain to be a country where companies want to invest and create jobs, which is exactly what Unilever is doing today.
Unilever UK and Ireland Executive Chairman, Graeme Pitkethly, said:
Unilever’s legacy in Port Sunlight goes back over 125 years – it is the historic home of our company which today operates in more than 190 countries. With everyday products and much loved brands produced here and found in 9 out of 10 British households, our £200 million investment into Unilever Port Sunlight is a significant moment that will provide a platform for our business in the UK and across the globe for years to come.
We are proud to have had the opportunity to show the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer the investments made and to demonstrate Port Sunlight’s continued strategic importance as we look to the future and continue to build on the Lever legacy.
As part of the visit the Chancellor and Prime Minister met with the company’s management team before meeting with staff and taking a tour of the Personal Care factory, located on William Lever’s original site and IT centre.
The visit formed part of the Chancellor’s and Prime Minister’s 2 day tour of the north-west, where they set out their 6-point long-term economic plan for the region, which shows what has been delivered, what is underway and what more can be done to build a northern powerhouse.
Yesterday, the Chancellor convened leading health scientists to discuss proposals for a further major new investment in health research in the north of England. The Chancellor has asked Professor Ian Greer, Provost of Health and Life Sciences at the University of Liverpool to develop “Health North” – a programme to unlock future medical innovations. The move follows major science investments in the north-west at the Autumn Statement, including the new quarter-billion Sir Henry Royce Institute for materials research.