The Westmorland GazetteKendal's William Hill under threat as chain announces plans to close 110 branches (From The Westmorland Gazette)

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Kendal's William Hill under threat as chain announces plans to close 110 branches

The Westmorland Gazette: William Hill in Kendal William Hill in Kendal

THE South Lakeland branch of a chain of national betting shops is under threat following a rise in machine gaming duty.

Kendal’s William Hill could be one of 110 shops shut down by the end of the year, with bosses saying a duty increase of five per cent has forced them to ‘review shop profitability’.

A spokeswoman for the chain told the Gazette that William Hill will now enter into a consultation over ‘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,” she said.

“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.”

It is unclear which of the chain’s UK shops will be affected by the announcement.

As well as Kendal, there are also branches in Morecambe, Lancaster and Penrith.

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Chief Executive Officer of the chain, Ralph Topping, said talk of closures has come about as a result of the Government’s ‘unexpected’ increase in duty from 20 per cent to 25 per cent.

“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,” he added.

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