Today in the news we learnt that Novartis is cutting its UK workforce while Wellcome Trust is offering one billion pounds for the Olympic Park. Is this is sign that Big Society is really taking over where capitalism is failing?
Novartis Cutting Staff at Horsham
First in the news is that Novartis is planning to cull its workforce by 500 in its Horsham operations. Last month we learnt that Pfizer was closing its operations in Sandwich, Kent.
Novartis employs around 3500 people in the UK in 8 different locations. The UK provides a large part of its research, development, sales, marketing and manufacturing.
Horsham is the Respiratory Research Centre which is Novartis’ global centre for respiratory research. It is housed in a £42 million purpose built centre and employs over 500 people. So with a loss of 500 staff, it looks like this centre is closing down. Horsham is also the global research centre for gastro-intestinal research. The loss of Horsham is going to leave a giant vacuum in this field in the UK, and see many highly skilled workers on the job market.
Wellcome Trust Makes a £1bn Offer for The Olympic Park
The next news story of the day is that The Wellcome Trust has offered to purchase the freehold for the London Olympic park. The area includes the main stadium, the aquatics centre, the athletics village and the media centre.
Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation. It wishes to create a science and technology centre on the site, which is one of the visions that David Cameron had for the future of the site.
In addition to taking over the site it says it will apply to build 11,000 new homes. If the average sale price is £200,000 per home, that would bring in £2,200,000,000.
Is this a sign that Big Society really can work? Or is it just Big Charity?