Voters opposed to AstraZeneca takeover, poll shows

A new survey of the UK public opinion has found only 14% think Pfizer’s proposed takeover of AstraZeneca is in the UK’s interests, according to a new poll commissioned by trade union Unite.

The survey also found that 19% were confident the government is doing enough to safeguard UK jobs and skills, according to a Survation poll.

Unite, which is closely affiliated with the opposition Labour party, says the poll shows that prime minister David Cameron risks alienating Conservative voters and is out of step with public opinion.

According to the weighted poll of just over 1000 people found over three quarters (77%) of Conservative voters believe all takeovers of this magnitude should be subject to a ‘public interest’ test, compared to a total across all voting intentions of 74 per cent.

Unite and GMB have prepared their anti-takeover campaign to coincide with their appearance at this morning’s parliamentary meeting on the takeover. Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary of Unite and Allan Black, National Officer, GMB will be the first witnesses at the House of Commons business select committee hearing, after which Pfizer chief executive Ian Read and then AZ’s chief Pascal Soriot will be questioned by MP committee members.

The final witness of the morning will be Vince Cable, the minister for Business, Innovation and Skills – who has expressed caution about the deal, and

The two unions have also paid for a series of adverts in the national media saying the Pfizer takeover is the ‘wrong prescription’ for Britain.

Commenting on the survey Unite general secretary, Len McCluskey said: “The British public isn’t being fooled by Pfizer’s proposed takeover of AstraZeneca and has a complete lack of confidence that the government has British interests at heart.

“Pfizer’s track record is one of slashing jobs and cutting costs and its ‘guarantees’ could evaporate at any moment. As it stands it’s the wrong prescription for Britain. The takeover bid is motivated by a desire to use the UK to minimise its tax liabilities while getting its hands on AstraZeneca’s drug portfolio.

“David Cameron is in danger of once again misjudging the public mood and being on the wrong side of opinion. The British public wants to see the government cheerleading for British science, British skills and British jobs – not for takeovers that shed jobs and damage UK manufacturing.

“It’s time for David Cameron to listen to his own supporters and the rest of public opinion to apply a’ public interest’ test on the takeover and stand up for British manufacturing.”

The committee meeting can be followed live here

Links

Government pledges ‘hard negotiation’ with Pfizer

 

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