Rishi's thumbs up to £60m investment and 200 new jobs

North Devon Gazette

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has given the thumbs up to a North Devon-based, global bio-tech company’s £60 million investment in the local which will create new 200 jobs.Â

The high-skilled, high-wage jobs will fuel growth in Ilfracombe which will become home to one of the Pall Corporation’s largest filtration manufacturing sites in the world, employing 1,000 people.Â

Ilfracombe has played a critical role in the fight against Covid-19, providing vital filtration equipment to the majority of the world’s vaccine suppliers, saving millions of lives.Â

Visiting the Ilfracombe site, Mr Sunak said this is the first tranche of hundreds of millions of dollars which will be invested in the UK over the next three years, creating 500 jobs UK wide and is part of a £1.1 billion global expansion announced in July 2021.Â

With a presence in Devon for more than 40 years, the Ilfracombe site supplies the vast majority of the world’s vaccine manufacturers with vital filtration equipment crucial in the production of Covid-19 vaccines.Â

Mr Sunak said: “It is great news that the Pall Corporation is investing £60 million in Ilfracombe creating 200 jobs, a fantastic example of levelling up in action.Â

“This site started in the 1970s with just 50 employees and now is playing a crucial role in world’s fight back against Covid-19, saving lives in every country on the planet and boosting the Devon economy.Â

“As we look to establish ourselves as a truly Global Britain and drive forward our recovery it’s crucial, we continue to attract foreign investment and create well-paid jobs for the future.” Â

Joseph Repp, president of Pall Life Sciences, said: “We’re thrilled to be part of the Ilfracombe community and excited to welcome new associates to our growing team. Our Ilfracombe manufacturing facility is integral to our global capacity expansion plans and continues to play a critical role in helping our customers deliver life-saving vaccines and therapeutics for patients.”Â

Filtering and cleaning air is essential in the creation of the huge numbers of safe vaccines the world needs. Without this vital technology, the risk of contamination increases, and production is slowed. This reduces the number of vaccines available and increases their cost.Â

The site in Ilfracombe, built on the old railway station in 1978, started with just 50 employees. Today it employs 850 people with an extra 200 recruits in the pipeline, the investment will be a significant boost to the local economy.Â

The Government is also investing to level up Devon and the South West. Devon County Council secured £10 million of Government investment from the Community Renewal Fund to support local businesses, promote digital innovation in the county and create new opportunities.Â

At Budget the Government announced £1.5bn worth of investment specifically earmarked for the South West to transform transport networks in the region by reopening railway stations and improving road networks.Â

After his visit, the Chancellor then joined a private event at The Landmark Theatre where he met many local business owners and residents and heard their views, concerns and answer questions. Â

Questions ranged from concerns about local housing and finding staff, as well as the cost of living, levelling up the south west, energy pricing and the pace of trying to reach net zero.Â

North Devon MP Selaine Saxby, who also attended, said: “I strive to bring ministers to North Devon and the south west, to see all of the wonderful things we have to offer, and also to understand the support that we too need in levelling up, and how our remoteness and rurality brings different challenges (as well as joys) to more urban areas.”Â

Mr Sunak’s visit came as his boss, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, was getting a mauling in the Commons in the latest ‘Partygate scandalÂ

But Ms Saxby said: “I appreciate that many people are concentrating more on where the Chancellor was not, rather than where he was. This was a planned visit to a major employer in North Devon and having come a considerable distance I was delighted that his schedule facilitated meeting other businesses and residents to hear what they had to say.Â

“There is more going on in this country than what is happening in the Westminster bubble and I believe it is vital that ministers see and experience that first hand whenever they have the opportunity.”Â