Direct Line closure ‘very unwelcome news’ for Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 05:30 28 February 2020
Labour and Tory councillors have come together to criticise Direct Line over the decision to shut its Ipswich office – as part of a national push to cut 800 jobs.
Yesterday, it emerged that Direct Line Group is closing their office on Friars Street with the loss of around 300 jobs.
Now community leaders have spoken of their disappointment at the closure which will happen in 2022.
Colin Kreidewolf, Labour borough councillor for the Westgate ward, said: "It's really disappointing news.
"My thoughts are with the employees who will now have to look for new employment, which is no easy thing in the current climate.
"It's obviously bad news for the local economy, but there is other positive news such as the investment by Amazon which was announced yesterday.
"Hopefully in the two years before the final closure alternative employment can be found."
Ian Fisher, Conservative group leader at Ipswich Borough Council, said: "It's never great news when such a large employer announces job losses and the number could well have an effect on the economy of our town.
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"It is good to see that the company have been responsible enough to give a huge amount of notice for this which will make it far easier for the affected employees to find an alternative job.
"I believe that the economy of Ipswich is robust enough to absorb these losses, especially given the time-scale, and it helps that the national outlook on numbers in employment is particularly strong.
"It is imperative that organisations such as DWP engage early with the affected people to make sure they know of all the re-training opportunities there are in the job market."
David Ellesmere, Labour leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said: "This is very unwelcome news and it will be a worrying time for Direct Line's employees.
"The borough council has been in contact with the company and is keen to work with them to help their employees find suitable alternative employment before the office closes in two years' time.
"Britain's whole economy is going through a major shake up at the moment and, like many towns, Ipswich is being affected by decisions made in national company boardrooms.
"Some of these can be negative such as Direct Line's and the impending closure of Paperchase or positive such as investment by Sports Direct, Deichmann and Amazon.
"Realistically, we are not going to be able to stop these changes but the borough council and all its Ipswich Vision partners are working hard to try and ensure that the positive outweighs the negative."
A spokeswoman for the Direct Line Group said: "We take the wellbeing of our people very seriously and have given people as much time as possible to prepare.
"We will be working with our employee representative body to make sure people are well supported through the process and we will provide assistance in finding alternative employment by, for instance, working with local organisations and providing CV and interview training."