Lloyds to shed 1,850 jobs

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Lloyds Banking Group is planning to cut 650 jobs from its insurance business and close its Halifax-branded agencies, leading to the loss of a further 1,200 positions.

The bank, which is 41 per cent state-owned and received Government support when Lloyds merged with Halifax/Bank of Scotland in January last year, said 1,500 jobs would go in its insurance business and back-office operations.

Following a series of redeployments and voluntary redundancies, 650 people are being forced to leave. Staff in Chester and Nottingham will be hardest hit by the cuts.

Separately, Lloyds said it would close its network of Halifax agencies, based mainly in estate agencies and solicitors' practices, which take retail deposits. The Unite union said the move would lead to a further 1,200 job losses.

"The announcement that another 1,850 jobs will be cut from across the Lloyds Banking Group is extremely alarming," said Unite's national officer, Cath Speight.

"The scale of this cuts is extreme, the bank's recovery plans are already well on course to deliver 30 per cent higher than forecast savings.

"This taxpayer-owned financial institution needs to focus on retaining the hard-working staff who have ensured the highest levels of service to its customers over the past 18 difficult months, not dumping them on the scrap heap."

Unite said Lloyds had axed 17,700 jobs since it received financial backing from the state, and described the cuts as "disgraceful".

Lloyds said it would cease to use its Halifax agencies following a review, and that customers would be able to deposit and withdraw their savings at Post Offices.