HUNDREDS of workers in Blackburn and Darwen face uncertainty over their future as their company revealed it plans to shut many of its offices.

Outsourcing giant Capita is to close more than a third of its bases in the UK permanently.

The firm, a major government contractor, is to end its leases on almost 100 workplaces.

It currently employs more than 500 staff at the TV licensing centre at India Mill in Darwen and its property and infrastructure hub at Castleway House in Preston New Road, Blackburn.

The company confirmed it was looking at greater use of flexible and home working but declined to discuss the location of any closures.

Cllr Phil Riley, Blackburn with Darwen Council’s growth boss, said: “It is understandable in the current circumstances that companies are looking at more employees working from home.

“However we believe Capita will continue with its current offices in Blackburn and Darwen.”

Cllr Riley’s Tory counterpart Cllr Paul Marrow said: “I hope that Capita will keep both offices in Blackburn and Darwen where they have a loyal and capable workforce.

“I hope they will identify the locations which are going to closed to end the uncertainty and stress for hundreds of workers in the borough.”

Darwen East ward Liberal Democrat Cllr Roy Davies said: “This must cause a great deal of uncertainty about their employment for the staff at India Mill and in Blackburn. There may be some who prefer to work from home but for many isolation can cause mental health problems.”

A Capita spokesman said: “Capita’s 45,000 employees work in offices spread right across towns and cities in the UK – we are committed to that continuing now and in the long term.

“Following dialogue with our employees it has become very clear they would like to work in a more flexible way, which will involve increased working from home, but will still spend a significant amount of their time working from offices We are not commenting at the moment on the offices which may or may not close. We always discuss specific office closures with our employees first.”

Capita has along association with Blackburn with Darwen Council signing a ground-breaking 15-year deal to provide services for the authority in 2001. Since 2016 that deal has been progressively slimmed down as the council took many services back in-house.