JTI Closure

January 22, 2015

“It is extremely disappointing that the complete factory closure has now been announced. Since the initial announcement of the consultation before Christmas I have continued to lobby the UK government to reconsider the introduction of plain-packaging and delay the Tobacco Products Directive in light of the lack of evidence to suggest their introduction would have any positive impact on smoking statistics within the United Kingdom whilst the economic impact on Ballymena would be devastating.
I have directly lobbied the Prime Minister, Secretary of State and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. However the die has been cast and the tentacles of european bureaucracy have reached in and stripped this factory bare.
This is one of the biggest single job losses in Northern Ireland since the Harland and Wolff shipyard redundancies.
With the consultation period now complete and the factory closure confirmed, it is the responsibility of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment and the Department of Employment and Learning to look to re-skill these exceptionally experienced and able staff in order for them to find new employment before the factory finally closes in early 2017. I know that the departments have already demonstrated a commitment towards this.
The Prime Minister this week stated that the UK is to become the factory of Europe. The challenge is now before him to include Northern Ireland in that vision and deliver new jobs to this region.”

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