Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has blamed the Government’s “complete incompetence“ and “ideological obsession with a hard, damaging Brexit“ following the news that global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, which has its headquarters in Cambridge, will continue its investment freeze in the UK if there is no further clarity on Brexit.
AstraZeneca’s non-executive chairman has said that an agreement on Brexit was needed to “ensure that Britain does not become an isolated island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean” amid concerns a no-deal scenario could spark a significant drugs shortage, and that “if a transition deal does not make clear what will happen in the future, we will maintain our decision not to invest”.
Mr Zeichner comments: “It is very damaging that Conservative party in-fighting continues to harm our economy by not providing any certainty to companies which provide large numbers of jobs and considerable sums to our country’s economy. The pharmaceutical industry have been calling for clarity for over two years. It’s not good enough to expect people to carry on waiting, decisions have to be made for the future now, and if there’s no clarity, businesses are inevitably risk averse and will choose to spend their investment money elsewhere in the world. “
“AstraZeneca employs around 6,500 people across five sites in the UK and supports 35,000 other jobs. It employs people from around the world and all over Europe who live in Cambridge – the uncertainty over their future talent acquisition and immigration policy, as well as customs tariffs and market access make it seriously difficult for such companies to plan. By not providing information about the future, the Government is shooting itself, and the Treasury, in the foot, and it’s simply not good enough.“