MP fears British Gas call centre job loss impact
The loss of 550 jobs at a British Gas call centre in Southampton will have a major impact on the local job market, an MP has said.
Southampton Itchen MP John Denham said the closure "hits everyone else who is looking for a job".
He called for support and retraining for the workers due to be made redundant.
British Gas said the closure would reduce costs when customers are increasing using online communications.
Labour MP Mr Denham said the decision came "out of the blue".
"When you get this amount of people coming into the labour market, it hits everyone else who is looking for a job and they'll find it even harder to compete for the jobs that are out there.
"The call centre was particularly important because of the flexible hours it offered - people with families and caring responsibilities are going to need particular help to find whatever jobs can be found out there.
"The fuel companies are making huge profits. Five hundred people are going to lose their jobs - is that going to make it a more efficient company which benefits consumers or is it just going to pad the bottom line for British Gas?"
Ian Peters, of British Gas, said: "This is a really tough announcement and our priority is to help the workforce and do everything we can to help them through this transition."
He said the lease on the building coming to an end was an added factor in the decision to close the Southampton call centre.
"In the current climate we simply cannot afford to take out a new lease and equip a new building," he added.