During the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, Sir George met senior representatives of Lloyds TSB to discuss the future of jobs in Andover. Lloyds TSB is planning to take over HBOS, and both banks have a significant presence in the town.
The letter below from Rosa Wilkinson, Director of Public Policy & Regulation at Loyds TSB summarises the outcome.
7 October 2008
Dear Sir George
I'm pleased that we were able to find time during your hectic schedule at Party Conference to talk about the agreement we announced on 18 September for Lloyds TSB to acquire HBOS.
As I said when we met, it is inevitable that any agreement of this kind will prompt questions about how the footprint of branches and offices of the two organisations will be affected. However, we are still in the very early stages of working through how we will bring the two organisations together and no decisions have been reached on what that footprint may ultimately look like or - despite some media speculation - on what the impact will be on jobs.
I fully understand that this will mean a period of uncertainty and some anxiety for people within both organisations, including those based at the Lloyds TSB service centre at Charlton Place in Andover. Our people matter, wherever they are based. They are key to the future success of our business. We are determined to support them through the transition with good, regular and timely communications and we are working with staff unions to help achieve this.
We firmly believe that the agreement between Lloyds TSB and HBOS represents a good deal for our customers, shareholders and the wider economy. It brings together two of the most trusted brands in financial services and our customers will benefit from a combined Group that will be one of the.strongest players in the UK financial services sector. Our intention is that all the combined Group will be strengthened in its ability to serve its customers in these difficult markets. .
I will, of course, keep you in touch with developments that affect your constituency, but do please get in touch at any time if you have questions or points you wish to discuss.
Sir George said that, while people in Andover would remain worried, the letter indicated that there would be no immediate changes. "The merger has not yet been agreed by shareholders, and I plan to return to this when we know the outcome of the vote."