By Marcus Leach

On the same day that figures were released announcing the highest unemployment rate in the UK for seventeen years, Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis announced they are axing 500 jobs at their Horsham site.

Novartis have announced that over the coming two years they will cease all pharmaceutical manufacturing at the site, and the closure of its global development site.

The site's respiratory-research group and corresponding support functions will remain in Horsham. Novartis said it will also maintain its major manufacturing sites in Grimsby and Liverpool in England and at Dundee, Scotland.

"With significant changes in health-care systems aimed to contain or cut cost, this critical assessment and the subsequent potential changes to the Novartis U.K. organization are key to maintain significant investment in innovative drugs and our research efforts in the U.K.," Sue Webb, Novartis general manager for the U.K. and Ireland and country president, said in a statement.