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Babergh District Council pledges support for staff impacted by closure of Philips Avent factory in Glemsford in 2020

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GLEMSFORD: Philips Avent, Lower Road, Glemsford, Suffolk Picture Mark Westley. (6786550)
GLEMSFORD: Philips Avent, Lower Road, Glemsford, Suffolk Picture Mark Westley. (6786550)

Babergh District Council has committed to supporting all staff at the Philips Avent factory in Glemsford, who face redundancy following the site’s closure next year.

Philips Avent has announced plans to shut its baby care product manufacturing plant in Lower Road in 2020, affecting around 500 jobs.

The decision, which will see the factory’s production line relocated to an existing site in the Netherlands, comes after a review of the firm’s industrial footprint, with company bosses stating they had to “pro-actively mitigate the potential impact of various ongoing geopolitical challenges”.

Philips has repeatedly warned in recent months that the future of its Glemsford plant was uncertain due to the lack of clarity around the Brexit negotiations, and it needed frictionless trade with the European Union to be maintained for the site to remain viable.

Now, Babergh District Council says it will offer support tailored to the situation, which could consist of support days to show what opportunities are available to those affected, although specific details have not been outlined.

This support may include signposting people to Jobcentre Plus, training offered by the Government’s Redundancy Payments Service (RPS), and further support provided by Suffolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

A spokesman for the district council confirmed they would also help to ensure a new use is found for the site, including job creation and investment, once it is vacated by Philips, stating it does not want to see it become disused and derelict.

Simon Barrett, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for economy, said: “It is always difficult to lose a job, especially when it is through no fault of your own, as appears to be the case with Philips Avent’s employees at Glemsford.

“While the management of Philips Avent have not felt the South Suffolk Taskforce was able to help them during conversations in the past, we will be there to help their employees now, not only in enabling them to find the support they need, but also in putting them in touch with other local businesses, who could use their skills and experience.

“Philips Avent employees at Glemsford have a reputation for their efficient operations, innovation and skills.

“It is these attributes which mean the area is still an attractive place for manufacturers to invest in.

“We will be looking at the future of the Glemsford site and how it can continue to provide employment in the area once Philips Avent leave.”