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There's a big jobs blow for the region with fears that 470 local people could be axed from the insurance giant Direct Line. The company which has bases in Leeds and Doncaster says it's ramping up its cost-cutting plans - but unions say the cuts are savage. Kate Walby reports.
Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn says that the loss of Direct Line jobs in the city will harm the wider economy.
Plans for around 2,000 job losses at Direct Line to reduce costs have been branded as “a savage bolt from the blue” by the country’s largest union, Unite.
Unite said that it had several hundred members working for the company but no union recognition.
Direct Line recently revealed £94.3 million profits for the first three months of 2013.
This was an increase of 47% on the previous year due to cost savings and unusually low weather-related claims.
However, the group, which also owns Green Flag and Privilege, also saw gross premiums fall 4.5% during the quarter to about £1 billion.
Last year, Direct Line was spun off from Royal Bank of Scotland when it floated on the stock market to satisfy European Union conditions on state bailouts.
RBS still owns 48.5% of the insurer but must sell its entire stake by the end of 2014.
About 2,000 jobs are under threat at Direct Line Insurance, which has its headquarters in Leeds, after the group announced plans to more than double its cost-saving plans.