HIGH ST JOBS BLOOD­BATH

BOOTS AND JOHN LEWIS AN­NOUNCE 5,300 WORK­ERS ARE AT RISK HOURS AF­TER CHAN­CEL­LOR REVEALS £30BN RES­CUE PACK­AGE

Metro (UK) - - NEWS - By JOEL TAYLOR

THOU­SANDS more jobs are set to go on the high street as firms con­tinue to an­nounce cuts.

Less than 24 hours af­ter chan­cel­lor Rishi Su­nak de­liv­ered a des­per­ate £30bil­lion pack­age de­signed to keep peo­ple out of the dole queue, a se­ries of busi­nesses pulled the trig­ger on lay-offs.

Boots has said it ex­pects to axe more than 4,000 jobs to mit­i­gate the ‘sig­nif­i­cant im­pact’ of coro­n­avirus. John Lewis an­nounced it will per­ma­nently close eight of its stores, putting 1,300 work­ers at risk, while Burger King UK’s boss said up to 1,600 staff could be let go as a re­sult of the pan­demic.

Mean­while, more than 3,000 Bri­tish work­ers have ap­plied for re­dun­dancy at Rolls-Royce, with many leav­ing in the next two months. Many high street names were strug­gling be­fore the pan­demic but up to 150,000 job cuts have been an­nounced by Bri­tish em­ploy­ers since lock­down be­gan.

Over­all around 75,000 job losses were an­nounced last month.

The Of­fice for Na­tional Sta­tis­tics has sug­gested that 600,000 UK work­ers lost their job in May alone, while vacancies slumped to a record low.

The job losses are a swift re­al­ity check

af­ter Mr Su­nak raided the Trea­sury once again to prop up UK plc.

His mini-Bud­get in­cluded a £1,000 ‘jobs re­ten­tion bonus’ for busi­ness who bring work­ers back off fur­lough, and half­price meals out. A grim-faced chan­cel­lor con­ceded yes­ter­day that he could not pro­tect all work­ers, and the UK was on track for a ‘se­vere’ re­ces­sion.

The move by Boots will af­fect about seven per cent of the com­pany’s work­force, par­tic­u­larly those in its Not­ting­ham sup­port of­fice. Boots boss Se­bas­tian James said the ‘de­ci­sive ac­tions’ would en­sure the com­pany’s ‘prof­itable longterm growth’.

John Lewis said the de­ci­sion to close eight stores was made to ‘se­cure the busi­ness’s long-term fu­ture and re­spond to cus­tomers’ shop­ping needs’.

PA

Blow: John Lewis is shut­ting shop at Birm­ing­ham’s Bull­ring & Grand Cen­tral

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