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Atkins to shed 260 in UK as recession is confirmed

Consultant Atkins has placed 260 staff on redundancy consultation in the regions and London as a recession is confirmed in official government figures, with two consecutive quarters of decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The posts Atkins are shedding will cover both consulting and architecture.

A company spokesperson said: "This week we commenced consultation with 260 people on proposals to restructure our UK regional design business as a result of worsening market conditions in that sector. Last week we commenced consultation with 200 people in the Middle East.

"Roles will be made redundant in those parts of the Group which are experiencing increasing uncertainty and worsening market conditions and we have deferred our annual salary review for six months.

"Atkins is a well managed organisation which has been performing very well as our results show. Our prudent management, quality of people, geographic diversity and breadth and depth of what we do means we are more resilient to economic slowdown than many of our competitors.

"We are not immune to this, however. We are taking action from a position of strength to ensure the future success of the Group."

The announcement follows cuts in most of the UK's major consulting engineering firms - Faber Maunsell, Arup, Scott Wilson, WSP, Mouchel and Buro Happold have all shed jobs either in the last quarter of 2008, the first quarter of 2009, or both. Both Atkins and Jacobs have frozen pay reviews until October 2009.

Staff in the following Atkins offices will be affected: Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Sheffield, Stockton, Leeds, Oxford, and London.

Government figures released today show that the UK economy shrank by 1.5% in the last quarter of 2008, making the UK officially in recession.

CBI Deputy Director-General John Cridland, said: "These numbers are much worse than expected and this is the sharpest contraction in the economy since 1980.

"The intensity and speed of falling demand combined with the global credit crunch mean this recession is going to be more painful than the early nineties, and sadly one consequence of this will be much higher unemployment."

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