Welwyn Hatfield reacts after Tesco announces 1,200 jobs in borough will be axed

PUBLISHED: 19:17 28 June 2017 | UPDATED: 19:51 28 June 2017

The Tesco office at Shire Park.

The Tesco office at Shire Park.

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Tesco is set to cut 1,200 jobs in Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield just weeks after announcing plans for a new hotel in the area.

The supermarket giant today confirmed that 25 per cent of roles at its offices in the borough will be axed as part of attempts to turn the business around.

It comes just weeks after Tesco submitted plans for a hotel between Kestrel Way and Bessemer Road – immediately north of its Shire Park base – which it claimed would be used for visiting staff and members of the public.

Welwyn Hatfield Chamber of Commerce chairman, Nick Brown, said: “Tesco are an important local employer, and we wish those facing redundancy every opportunity to find new jobs.

“The world of retail is changing globally, there are warnings of shares in retail companies falling sharply in the US.”

He added: “We should remember that our communities, health and wellbeing are dependent upon social interaction, and that too much online activity has its costs.

“We would encourage more people to shop in shops, before we lose more jobs and face our retailers leaving town.”

Tesco moved its headquarters to WGC last year, closing 43 unprofitable stores along with its Cheshunt base in the process.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a string of moves to balance the books following Tesco’s 2014 accounting scandal, in which the retailer was heavily fined for overstating its profits.

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said: “I was very concerned to hear about Tesco’s announcement today of upcoming job losses in Welwyn Garden City.

“This will be worrying news for employees who won’t actually know which jobs are going until later in August.

“I’ve contacted Tesco for assurances that they will be supporting those who are losing their jobs in order to assist in the search for new employment, in what will be a difficult time for staff.”

A Tesco spokesman described the move as “a significant step to continue the turnaround of the business”, adding the retailer would support colleagues during the transition.

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