British Gas To Cut 550 Jobs In Southampton

British Gas is cutting 550 jobs in Southampton - the firm insists it must reduce its costs in order to remain competitive.

If the proposals go ahead its Southampton call centre will close at the end of the year.

In a statement, the company said:

"British Gas recognises that household budgets are stretched, customers are looking for maximum value for money, and to deal with us increasingly through digital channels.

"If we are going to remain competitive and offer the best prices for our customers, we need to reduce our costs.   

"We have therefore reviewed resource levels in our energy business, and are now proposing to close our Southampton contact centre at the end of 2012 leading to a reduction of 550 roles.   

"If the proposals go ahead 50 customer services roles currently sited at Southampton may transfer to our site at Chandlers Ford.  

"We will work to ensure continued high levels of service for our customers as we now move into a consultation period to discuss these proposals in more detail with our people and their representatives.  

"Our priority now is to support all those potentially impacted by today's announcement to ensure a fair, open and transparent process throughout.

"We recognise that today's news will be very hard for our employees and their families.

"This has been a very difficult conclusion to reach but we believe it is in the best long term interests of our business."