ST HELENS Council's leader says the "loss of Ena Shaw is a blow" for the borough after the firm slid into administration.

Historic St Helens soft-furnishing manufacturer Ena Shaw has announced it has gone into administration in a devastating blow that is expected to cost more than 160 jobs.

Established in 1932, Ena Shaw is a family run business specialising in the manufacture and resale of soft furnishings, employing 167 members of staff.

The company has a factory at Lea Green and a store on Duke Street, St Helens.

The decision to appoint administrators was made by the directors of Ena Shaw after difficult trading conditions.

Commenting on the closure, Council Leader David Baines said: “The loss of Ena Shaw is a blow for St Helens.

"They're a family-run independent business which has been trading in the borough for 88 years and it's incredibly sad to see them come to this.

"My thoughts are with the staff who are now faced with redundancy.

"I've instructed council officers to do all we can to help those affected, including supporting them to get back into employment though our Ways to Work programme, and also by working with the Liverpool City Region and St Helens Chamber to access a full range of advice, support and training opportunities.

"In the coming weeks we will be working with these partners and others to coordinate this support, including hosting an event at the town hall so those affected can come and get practical advice and support in one place."

Marie Rimmer MP for St Helens South and Whiston, said: “As a personal supporter of Ena Shaw, I am very sad that it has come to this. It’s a huge shame for local economy, but most importantly for the workers that the decision to enter administration has been taken.

"The administrators have promised to work with staff at the Job Centre to get redundancy payments sorted, but this needs to be as quickly and smoothly as possible.

"I will be keeping an eye on things to make sure former employees get what they are owed.

“As a community, we need to come together to support the workers that suddenly find themselves looking for a new job. I’ll be working with St Helens Council to do what we can to help.”

Karl Pearce, chief officer at St Helens Citizen's Advice Bureau, added: "It's a very, very sad day to hear that Ena Shaw is to close as it is a name synonymous with the borough and has been a proud part of St Helens for nearly 90 years.

"We are here to help the more than 160 staff members affected to help them find alternative employment, discuss their options and help them with applying for Universal Credit if needed.

"We will host private and group sessions to help them as much as we can at this difficult period of time."