THE council has been told to “get a grip” after another major employer in Basingstoke confirmed it would be moving hundreds of jobs away from the town.
Electronics company Thales Group, which currently operates out of Mountbatten House, in Basing View, will relocate approximately 400 staff members from its Basingstoke operation and move them to a £23 million complex in Reading.
The French firm, which designs and builds electrical systems, becomes the fourth major employer within recent times to move its operations out of Basingstoke – joining the likes of energy firm SSE, who moved 600 jobs to Reading in 2015, pharmaceutical company Shire, which quit last year, shifting 270 jobs to the capital, and communications giant Motorola Solutions, who announced last month it would move 250 jobs to London.
It means over 1,000 jobs have left Basingstoke since 2015. Leader of Basingstoke Labour Group, Cllr Paul Harvey, accused Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council (BDBC) of “losing the confidence of businesses in Basingstoke.”
He said: “It’s absolutely time for the council to get a grip of this because we are losing so many important businesses. We’re seeing families having to make serious decisions about their lives and whether they should relocate to keep their jobs and on their own future.”
Cllr Harvey added: “These companies that are leaving have been at the heart of the borough for decades. It is clear the Tories have lost the confidence of businesses.
“They say they are bringing in jobs, but they are hell bent on creating low paid retail jobs, when we’re losing the high skilled jobs that have made this borough what it is.”
Head of external communications at Thales Group, Jon Lunn told The Gazette the firm, which is the country’s second largest defence company, would retain all posts when the move takes place.
It has been earmarked for the end of May, when the group’s other offices in Reading and Weybridge would merge at the new premises.
He added: “It is absolutely our intention to keep the jobs. There are lots of reasons as to why we have opted to leave and the most important is reducing our footprint, by moving them all into this state-of-the-art site in Reading.”
Leader of BDBC, Cllr Clive Sanders told The Gazette the council was unable to “control or influence decisions that international businesses make for specific business reasons”.
He added: “We have worked closely with Thales to try and meet their requirements and put forward a number of options for the size and type of space they require but they have opted for a ready built solutions, which we don’t currently have.”