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Treasury Minister comments on Abbey International Rationalisation 18 November 2005

    Treasury Minister Allan Bell MHK says he is ‘disappointed but not surprised’ by Abbey International’s decision to rationalise its activities into one offshore centre.

    The move, which follows a review of operations, will mean the winding down next year of the company’s Isle of Man office, where there are 140 employees, and a concentration of activity in Jersey.

    Abbey International says the decision has been taken for strategic reasons of its own and is not a reflection on the Isle of Man. The Abbey group is maintaining a strong presence in the Island through its life assurance company, Scottish Provident International, which employs around 150 staff, and Abbey National plc.

    Minister Bell commented:

    ‘First and foremost I would like to express my sympathy for the local staff affected by this decision. This is upsetting news for them and they must be concerned for the future.
    ‘At least there is some time for them to find alternative employment, and the jobs market generally remains buoyant. Both the company and the Government are able to help staff look for other jobs.’

    Mr Bell continued:

    ‘I am disappointed but not surprised at Abbey International’s decision, which has to be seen in context. Rationalisation is an established fact of life in the financial services industry around the world. There is nothing new about operations consolidating in particular centres, often for historic and other internal reasons.
    ‘To put this news of 140 phased job losses into some perspective, there were 1,595 job vacancies notified during the third quarter of this year, with 357 vacancies currently. The Island has a total of 42,000 people in employment, including some 9,000 in financial services.’

    The Minister concluded:

    ‘The Island’s unemployment rate, at 1.4%, is low compared with other countries and the level of new vacancies has increased this year. Ours is a dynamic, growing and changing economy, and while jobs may be lost from time to time, new ones are regularly being created.’

    18th November 2005

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