AROUND 450 Salisbury jobs are to be axed when insurance giant Aviva leaves the city, the firm has announced.

Aviva took over Friends Life in a multi-billion-pound merger in March.

Now bosses have decided to abandon the city as part of a bid to save £225million by the end of 2017.

A company spokesman gave this statement: "When we announced the acquisition of Friends Life we said that we would inform our people about any changes which impact them as soon as possible," said an Aviva spokesman.

"So today we have updated our people about proposals to focus our operations on a number of core locations in the UK.

"We have previously said that we expect to deliver approximately £225 million of annual savings by the end of 2017 as a result of the Friends Life acquisition. Savings are expected to come from a number of areas, including simplifying the business and reducing property costs.

"As part of these proposals we have today informed employees that we will exit all offices in Salisbury by the end of 2016. Work will be transferred to alternative Aviva sites in the UK.

"We appreciate this is disappointing and difficult news and we are helping people through this process, providing a range of support and advice, and consulting with employee representative bodies about these changes.

"The changes will happen between now and the end of 2016 and we will look to minimise the impact by offering redeployment opportunities where possible.

"Any role reductions which may occur as a result of Aviva's integration with Friends Life will form part of the potential reduction of 1,500 roles we announced in January 2015."