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Business secretary meets with Norwich MPs over Britvic and Unilever jobs

PUBLISHED: 08:51 24 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:52 24 October 2017

Greg Clark Chloe Smith

Greg Clark Chloe Smith

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MP Chloe Smith has vowed the government is ready to back options to help keep Britvic and Unilever jobs in Norwich after a meeting with the secretary of state for business.

MP Chloe Smith has vowed the government is ready to back options to help keep Britvic and Unilever jobs in Norwich after a meeting with the secretary of state for business.

Business secretary Greg Clark vowed to back the Local Enterprise Partnership in assisting the companies to find local solutions and Ms Smith urged him to consider potential sources of government support.

Mr Clark said: “Colman’s and Britvic are iconic British brands and ones that have a unique association with Norwich, with mustard production having taken place at the same factory since the 1860s.

“I was pleased to meet with Chloe who has been working hard with all those involved and I value her commitment to continuing to work with the LEP and all interested parties to ensure a bright future for this important site.”

After the Westminster meeting Norwich North MP Ms Smith said: “This was a very productive meeting. I raised the city’s concerns about the potential loss of jobs and on top of that the possible loss of these historic Norwich brands.

“Obviously the consultation and the review remain at an early stage but the government is ready to put support behind options that might help and today the secretary of state promised to do that by working with the LEP and myself to identify the best way forward.”

Later Mr Clark also met Norwich South MP Clive Lewis in a separate discussion focusing on the proposed closures.

The MP said he’d made an “impassioned plea” for the secretary to come to Norfolk and meet workers.

He said he’d told Mr Clark that losing the businesses would “devastate” and “gut” the city’s economy.

“The meeting was to push for a meaningful and true to its word consultation for both parties, to ask whether [Mr Clark] would come to Norfolk and to ask for government help on some way to keep these companies here,” he said.

“I said that time was in short supply and we could not wait. Do I now feel like the government will take decisive action to keep the businesses in Norwich? Not particularly - but there is still everything to fight for.”

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