Bookies future to be considered

THE future of a bookmakers in Battle is to be discussed after William Hill revealed plans to close 110 shops across the UK.

The bookies, which has a branch in the High Street, says an increase in Machine Gaming Duty to 25 percent is to blame.

William Hill says it is to launch a consultation to decide which of its branches should face closure.

The company has refused to comment on whether the Battle branch would be at risk.

A statement from William Hill said: “We will enter into a consultation with representatives on our approach to the shop closures, and associated risk to employment.

“This process will involve consultations on ways in which we can look to redeploy those colleagues impacted by the closures, and where we can, reduce the number of redundancies.

“The closures are expected to be in place by the end of the year.

“Obviously we will be trying our very best to minimise redundancies across the estate and would hope to redeploy many of those affected.”

William Hill CEO Ralph Topping added: “However as a direct result of the Government’s unexpected announcement about an increase in Machine Gaming Duty to 25 percent, we have reviewed shop profitability and will be closing a portfolio of circa 110 shops this year.

“This is particularly disappointing as, through the economic downturn, we have worked hard to grow our retail base but this further planned increase in indirect taxation makes this action necessary.”