Chloe Smith
MP for Norwich North

Chloe Smith hosts summit meeting for LEP to meet Business Secretary on Britvic Unilever

Author: Chloe Smith, Updated: 20 November 2017 11:38

Chloe Smith, MP for Norwich North, today will take a Norfolk delegation from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to meet the Business Secretary to review options for supporting employees and production in Norwich as Britvic and Unilever make their decisions about their future.


The LEP have worked with local partners and the two firms to discuss the most feasible options at this stage.  It is still for the two companies to conclude their consultation (Britvic) and site review (Unilever).


Chloe’s action follows her meeting a month ago with Greg Clark in which he requested today’s meeting and reassured her:


“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 Local Enterprise Partnership and all interested parties to ensure a bright future for this important site.”


Chloe has focused on ensuring that government is on standby to support employees and the future of manufacturing in Norwich ahead of what Britvic and Unilever decide to do.  She has:

  • Spoken with the Agriculture and Food Minister, George Eustice, to seek DEFRA’s influence on Unilever’s decision and to confirm what relevant may be support available through his department and what funding programmes may be relevant for options within the supply chain, as the Colman's brand uses crops from a close radius of Norwich and across East Anglia. The Government's Industrial Strategy shows strong support for agricultural innovation and there is a programme of funds available to support innovation in food processing.
  • Spoken with the Department for Work and Pensions to make sure their Rapid Response service is available for the workforce of both companies if it becomes necessary. 
  • Spoken with the Minister for International Trade to seek information about how his department could help identify future opportunities for investment in Norwich. 


Chloe has also spoken to senior management at the two companies and has been liaising with constituents, unions, Norfolk County and Norwich City Councils.  She has held a surgery on-site at Carrow Works.


Today Chloe said:


“I will be asking the Business Secretary today to put government’s power behind the best way to support employees and production in Norwich.  He is keen to review the options with the LEP, so that we can identify a positive way forward for Norwich jobs and heritage. 


“This is still a very anxious time for everyone working for Britvic and Unilever in Norwich.  Right up to the last minute, we need to continue to make the case for both businesses staying in Norwich.  I’m grateful to the public who’ve demonstrated the strength of feeling there is for these sites to remain open.  


“I have worked hard behind the scenes in Parliament and with the companies so far and will carry on doing so to support my constituents.”


Chloe Smith continues to work for a positive outcome for constituents employed at Britvic and Unilever in Norwich.