Contrasting reactions as Smith & Nephew leaves Hull after 166 years

Smith & Nephew Hull
Smith & Nephew have been in Hull since 1856. Credit: MEN Media

Rival East Yorkshire MPs have given contrasting reactions after a major employer moved from one of their constituencies to the other.

Smith and Nephew announced on Thursday, 9 June, that it was leaving Hull after more than 160 years.

The firm, which makes medical equipment and employs around 800 people, is relocating to a new £80m manufacturing site in Melton.

It is a move of just eight miles, but means the company will switch from Labour MP Emma Hardy's Hull West and Hessle constituency to the Conservative-held Haltemprice and Howden constituency, where David Davis is the MP.

He hailed the decision, tweeting: "It will help us to capitalise on the UK's position as a world leader in Life Sciences and bring more high quality jobs to the Yorkshire area."

But Ms Hardy said she was disappointed. She said: "Hull was the birthplace of Smith & Nephew. It's where the company started. It has all its history, it has all its heritage there on this site in Hull.

"But, I understand they wanted 23 acres and, of course, you can't find 23 acres within the boundary of Hull, it's simply not there."

She added: "My focus right now is going to be making sure everyone keeps their jobs when they open this new site."

Jonathan Owen, the leader of East Riding Council, said the company's decision to move to Melton West Business Park would keep jobs in the area.Cllr Owen said: "We welcome the news that a blue chip company like Smith & Nephew has pledged their future to the area, planning permission will be needed for development of the site and once an application has been submitted it will be dealt with through the proper process."

'Commitment to the UK'

Smith & Nephew has been in Hull since 1856. Its products range from hip and knee implants to robotic surgery equipment and products to help heal wounds and are sold in more than 100 countries.

The company said the plans were a "major investment" demonstrating "our commitment to the UK".

Spokesman Simon Fraser said: "The new site is expected to open in 2024. Smith & Nephew worked closely with Hull City Council but unfortunately were unable to find an appropriately sized and deliverable site within the city. Smith & Nephew is committed to continuing to work with the City Council and other stakeholders regarding future options for the current Hull site."

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