Marcus Cotter-Stone went to see Andover's MP at Westminster, to explain the background to Twinings decision to concentrate production for the UK market in Andover; but to cease production in the UK for the market in the Far East.
"Marcus explained how they needed to remain competitive in world markets, which meant processing the tea nearer to the markets where it is sold. While it is relatively cheap to transport tea as a raw material, it is much more expensive to transport it when it is a tea-bag - which is 75% air."
"They are therefore switching production for the overseas market from Newcastle and Andover to China and Poland. They are investing £6 million in Andover to improve the working environment. Although all the UK market will be served from Andover, because of the loss of overseas production, half the 260 people who work in the factory will not be needed by November 2011. Some of those employees are temporary and others will retire during that period. Marcus told me that he hoped that 80% of the remainder would find alternative employment, which Twinings would help them with."
"Marcus told me that Twinings remained wholly committed to the town, and hoped to build up production over time and then take more people on."
"I understand the uncertainty for those who don't know their future, but the position of course is far worse in Newcastle where 263 people will lose their jobs."