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British Gas Announcement a Reminder About Fragility of the Service Sector

BCCCAG15 002The announcement by British Gas (Centrica) that their Oldbury office was going to close and that 684 jobs would be lost as part of their £200 million restructure costs for 2016 is a bitter blow for a part of the Black Country that has lost people as a result of changes in Caparo, Npower and Carphone Warehouse.

Adrian Wright, President of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is ironic that on the day of the announcement that the West Midlands had bucked the national jobs trend by growing 0.2%, we have a multinational telling us about a loss of nearly 700 employees.

“This announcement highlights the fragility of the service sector, further illustrated by the more recent Lloyds Bank announcement. The service sector is often considered the saviour of the UK economy. Centrica’s plans also demonstrate, once again, that multinationals have little loyalty to local communities.

“We need to learn from our German counterparts and develop a backbone of family owned, medium sized businesses, that are managed on a long term basis and who remain a constant source of training and employment for local people. This will never happen without cross party support and a willingness to get involved in creating sustainable business ecosystems.

“Short term thinking and a laissez-faire approach will not make us a world leader whether we remain in, or leave the EU.”

Nick Bubalo, Director, Regeneration and Economy at Sandwell Council said: “It’s unfortunate we weren’t involved in earlier discussions with British Gas to understand if alternative solutions could have been reached. We will, of course, help all of those affected through jobs fairs and careers support, an area of expertise we have developed over the last few years.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 26 April 2016 09:10

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