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Economy hit by jobs rollercoaster

The economy has been hit by a jobs rollercoaster after two taxpayer-supported banks made "brutal" cuts of more than 1,700 posts, while car giant Jaguar Land Rover unveiled plans to increase its workforce by 1,000.

The contrasting news came ahead of new unemployment figures on Wednesday which are expected to show another increase in the 2.6 million jobless total, despite some signs of a brighter future on the employment front.

The bad news came from the finance sector, with Lloyds Banking Group saying it will cut 1,300 jobs and transfer 300 roles to India, while Royal Bank of Scotland is axing 464 posts. Unite and Accord said it was another "black day" for the finance industry and questioned why the Government was not intervening.

David Fleming, Unite national officer, said: "The announcement of 1,764 job cuts in these taxpayer-supported institutions today is truly brutal. How can there be any justification for the Government not intervening as these much-needed jobs are lost from our struggling economy? To learn that 300 jobs are being transferred to a low wage economy adds insult to injury."

Ged Nichols, general secretary of Accord, said: "This is a black day for Lloyds employees. Over 30,000 Lloyds employees have lost their jobs since the bank was created with the takeover of HBOS three years ago and today LBG has announced that a further 1,600 roles will be 'removed', over 1,300 of them through redundancy, including over 300 off-shored to India."

Unite said that since the start of the financial crisis, Lloyds had cut 28,600 workers and RBS around 26,000. Lloyds said the job losses were part of its previously announced strategic review and would affect its group operations, executive functions, wholesale and insurance divisions.

The bank, which is 40% owned by the taxpayer, said it would work through the job losses with staff in a "careful and sensitive way", using natural turnover and redeployment where possible. The bank said: "Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort."

RBS, which is 82% owned by the taxpayer, said: "We are working hard to rebuild RBS in order to repay taxpayers for their support and having to cut jobs is the most difficult part of this process."

Jaguar Land Rover lifted the gloom by announcing it will create 1,000 jobs at its factory in Halewood on Merseyside to support "significant demand" for some of its models, taking the site's workforce to almost 4,500, treble the number employed there three years ago. The company said the new posts will support the significant demand for the Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Freelander 2.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who met JLR's senior management at the Geneva Motor Show last week about increasing production at Halewood, said: "Today's announcement is further evidence of the strength of the UK automotive sector and will also have a positive impact on growth in local supply chains."


From Belfast Telegraph