Business

High street pain leads to 50,000 UK jobs being threatened

Around 50,000 staff in the UK have been made redundant or seen their role put under threat, with the bulk of them working for well-known high street chains like House of Fraser, according to new figures

A COLOSSAL 50,000 jobs have been axed in the first half of the year as retail workers bore the brunt of hundreds of store closures.

Numbers crunched by the Press Association show that approximately 50,000 staff have been made redundant or seen their role put under threat, with the bulk of them working for well-known high street chains.

In the past few weeks alone, House of Fraser has put more than 6,000 jobs at risk with a radical store closure plan, while Poundworld has plunged into administration, endangering a further 5,100.

It adds to Toys R Us and Maplin, which collapsed earlier this year, while the likes of Prezzo, Byron and Jamie's Italian have shut restaurants and culled hundreds of jobs.

Retailers have been hammered by Brexit-fuelled inflation, soaring business rates and falling consumer confidence.

Responding to the figures, the TUC called on the Government to "up its game" to stem the tide.

The union organisation's general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Retail depends on customers having money in their pockets. One reason why some shops are struggling is because wage growth has been very weak.

"Government needs to up its game, boost the economy and invest in great jobs that people can live on."

Experts said 2018 will go down in history as the "year of the company voluntary arrangement" - an insolvency procedure used to push through several store closure programmes this year.

Soaring business rates have been flagged as a major contributor to retail failures.

Away from retail, BT is axing around 13,000 jobs as part of a revamped cost-cutting drive, with two-thirds of the cuts to fall in the UK.

The collapse of outsourcer Carillion has so far resulted in the loss of more than 2,375 jobs, with further pain expected.

Earlier this year, British Gas owner Centrica announced that it is to axe 4,000 roles over the next three years under a ramped-up efficiency programme.

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