AROUND 100 jobs are to be axed at one of Taunton’s largest employers, the County Gazette can reveal.

The UK Hydrographic Office is to cut the equivalent of 97 full-time staff as part of a shake-up to make “significant operational savings.”

Staff will leave the Admiralty Way base – which houses approximately 1,100 employees – before the end of March after being offered voluntary redundancy.

A source said: “It makes sense for these people to take the voluntary redundancies as many of them are well paid, at the right age and will get a good pay off.

“Most of them will have paid off their mortgage and have built up money over the years so might not mind so much.”

Following a consultation with trade unions, some staff who met the agreed criteria offered to give up their position under the Voluntary Early Release Scheme.

They will leave their posts by the end of the financial year.

Taunton Deane MP Jeremy Browne said the Hydrographic Office is “one of the most important and prestigious” employers in the area.

He added: “They obviously have to be efficiently managed but it is still alarming to learn about the planned redundancies.

“I will be visiting the Hydrographic Office again soon and I will be seeking assurances that they have a long-term commitment to remaining as a major employer in Taunton.”

The Hydrographic Office said any job losses would be in line with the national Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

A spokesman said: “I can confirm that approximately 100 people, equating to 97 full time equivalent, will leave UKHO before the end of the financial year.

“UKHO needs to make significant operational savings in the next five years to offset changing market conditions.

“It is already achieving savings through increased cost consciousness, efficiencies from transformation and continuous improvement, however the scale of savings requires a reduction in headcount.

“Some of this reduction will be achieved through normal rates of retirement, reducing external recruitment and challenging the filling of vacancies by re-skilling people where possible.”