UK Government urged to support staff after Debenhams collapse

The UK Government has been urged to set out plans to support the staff facing job losses after Debenhams rescue talks collapsed.

JD Sports has pulled out of discussions to save the department store, putting 12,000 jobs at risk.

Now Labour’s shadow minister for business and consumers Lucy Powell has called for action to support staff at the high street store.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: “This is devastating news for the 12,000 employees at Debenhams who are facing a very worrying Christmas and comes on top of the news that Arcadia has gone into administration.

The UK Government has been urged to support staff after Debenhams rescue talks collapsedThe UK Government has been urged to support staff after Debenhams rescue talks collapsed
The UK Government has been urged to support staff after Debenhams rescue talks collapsed

“The Government must urgently set out how it plans to support the people affected by the collapse of these companies, including pressing Philip Green to do the right thing and plug the Arcadia pension deficit.”

Labour shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy said: “A devastating reminder of why we need a proper economic plan. Thinking of all Debenhams staff today.”

Read More
Debenhams on the brink of collapse after JD Sports pulls out of rescue talks

Tory MP John Lamont also offered support to staff, saying it was “another bad news day for our high streets”.

The Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk said: "Retail has been hit very hard in Scotland with stores having to stay closed for long periods of time. Many stores are still closed in this vital pre-Christmas period.

“This has been another bad news day for our high streets. I really feel for the staff of Debenhams who will have helped put coronavirus safety measures in place when they reopened in summer, only to now be told that their job will likely go.

“This will be devastating news for families up and down the UK who face huge uncertainty in the run up to Christmas.”

Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine demanded more support for the nation’s struggling high streets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

She said: "With the Arcadia Group entering administration last night, thousands more jobs have been potentially wiped away on Rishi Sunak's watch.

"During the pandemic when so many are already struggling to get by, unemployment will have a devastating impact.

"This Government's failure to get a grip on the virus has seen tens of thousands of livelihoods lost, and these extra job losses means thousands more families across the UK wondering how they're going to get by.

“Our high streets know need urgent government action to safeguard their future.

"A first step must be for ministers to overhaul the business rates system, otherwise we will see yet more livelihoods lost in our retail sector."

It follows the collapse of Arcadia and puts 12,000 jobs at risk at the department store.

JD Sports was the last remaining bidder for Debenhams, which has been in administration since April.

In a brief statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company said: “JD Sports Fashion, the leading retailer of sports, fashion and outdoor brands, confirms that discussions with the administrators of Debenhams regarding a potential acquisition of the UK business have now been terminated.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Debenhams has already axed 6,500 jobs across its operation due to heavy cost-cutting after it entered administration for the second time in 12 months.

It is understood the collapse of the deal is partly linked to the administration of Arcadia, which is the biggest operator of concessions in Debenhams stores.

Arcadia tumbled into insolvency on Monday evening, casting a shadow over its own 13,000 workers and 444 stores.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.