More than 100 banking positions are set to disappear in the West Midlands after Lloyds Banking Group announced plans for a huge cull of jobs.
Lloyds is shedding 90 jobs in Birmingham and 40 positions in Wolverhampton as part of plans to axe 4,500 jobs nationwide, taking the total number of losses to 20,000 since the start of last year.
The move by the part-nationalised bank comes as official figures showed unemployment in the West Midlands now stands at eight per cent, with 14,000 fewer people out of work - bringing the new jobless total to 216,000.
Katie Teasdale, head of policy at Birmingham Chamber Group, said the figures were good news, but that businesses will now be focusing on the Comprehensive Spending Review next week.
She said: “Government must introduce initiatives which will help businesses to create employment.
“The proposed cuts in public sector jobs could be the worst since those recorded in the 1940s.
“It is imperative that we attract and invest in major infrastructure, such as High Speed Rail 2 which if it goes ahead could bring up to 10,000 construction jobs.
“It is also important that job creation is a key part of the Local Enterprise Partnerships.
“Birmingham Chamber Group is working with local authorities to ensure that job creation is at the heart of the Birmingham and Solihull, East Staffordshire, Lichfield and Tamworth Local Enterprise Partnership.”
Lloyds said 1,600 permanent roles would be affected across the UK, 1,150 temporary and contract staff would be “released” and a further 1,750 offshore contractor jobs would be cut.
A statement said: “Lloyds Banking Group is committed to working through these changes with employees carefully and sensitively.
“The group’s policy is to use natural turnover and to redeploy people wherever possible to retain their expertise and knowledge within the group.
“By making less use of contractors and agency employees it reduces the impact on permanent staff.
“Where it is necessary for employees to leave the company, it will look to achieve this by offering voluntary severance.
“Compulsory redundancies will always be a last resort.”
But unions labelled the move “a disgrace”.
Cath Speight, national officer at Unite, said: “It is an absolute disgrace that Lloyds Banking Group, which is being kept alive by the taxpayer, is cutting more jobs and moving their jobs out of the UK.
“It is now time for the Government to step in and demand answers on behalf of taxpayers and staff.
“This bank is racing around the globe in their pursuit of profit.
“Instead of moving jobs from this country, they should wake up and realise the importance of their skilled workforce.
“Since the taxpayer stepped in to keep this bank afloat, the management have shown no acknowledgement for the dedication of their staff who have ensured it can continue to service their customers, instead rewarding them with over 20,000 job cuts.”