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Future of Work

Two of the UK’s biggest High Street retailers, John Lewis and Boots, have announced 5,300 job cuts.

Boots has said 4,000 jobs will go, while John Lewis is shutting down eight stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

The moves come amid warnings that new economic support from Chancellor Rishi Sunak will not be enough to stop millions of workers losing their jobs.

Mr Sunak admitted that he would not be able to protect “every single job” as the UK enters a “severe recession”.

Boots is consulting on plans to restructure head office and store teams and shut 48 Boots Opticians stores. It has not yet given details of which stores it is closing.

John Lewis said department stores in Birmingham and Watford will not reopen as the coronavirus lockdown eases. It also plans to shut down its At Home stores in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth and travel sites at Heathrow airport and London St Pancras.

The announcements come a day after Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveiled a series of measures aimed at saving jobs, including a one-off £1,000 payment to employers for every furloughed employee retained to the end of January 2021.

The managing director of Boots UK, Sebastian James, described the latest cuts as “decisive actions to accelerate our transformation plan”.

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