Political leaders from across Bolton have called on crisis-hit high street giant Wilko to do more to protect “hard working, loyal” staff.

The company announced earlier this month that it was going into administration putting thousands of jobs, including at Wilko’s Deansgate and Middlebrook branches, at risk.

Now, Bolton South East MP Yasmin Qureshi and council leader Cllr Nick Peel along with parliamentary candidates Kirith Entwistle and Phil Brickell have all put their names to an open letter addressed to the company.

Ms Entwistle said: "Any closure of Wilko stores in Bolton would be a bitter blow for the hard-working, loyal members of Wilko staff and for our local economy.

“I want to ensure workers are supported as much as possible."

The Bolton News: The company went into administration earlier this monthThe company went into administration earlier this month (Image: Newsquest)

Just this week, “everything must go” signs were put up in the windows of Bolton’s Deansgate branch, while a deadline set by administrators for rescue bids closed last Wednesday.

The GMB union, which represents Wilko workers, says that it still holds out hope that the store can be saved.

But the open letter signed by Ms Entwistle and her colleagues calls on Wilko to go further in reassuring staff who are currently fearing for their jobs.

It said: “We are seeking positive assurances from you that all staff working at the Bolton stores and in any roles linked to these stores will be given the utmost support from Wilko at this incredibly difficult and challenging time.

“All efforts should be made to protect their jobs.”

They stressed that Wilko is a long-established historic brand that would be sorely missed by workers and customers.

Bolton shoppers have also spoken out in recent weeks about the impact losing yet another well-known high street brand would have on the town so soon after Marks and Spencer and Clintons Cards departed the high street and not long after Debenhams closed at the Market Place shopping centre.

The letter said: “Since 1930, when JK Wilkinson opened his first store in Leicester, Wilko has become an integral part of the great British high street.

“Our thoughts are with each and every worker who is concerned about potential job losses, and we sincerely hope your efforts to secure a solution to avert job losses and closures are successful.”

They have all asked to be kept updated by the troubled company as the situation unfolds.

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Mr Brickell said: "Wilko is a large local employer, and I really hope every effort is made to secure a solution to avert job losses and store closures."

The company has said previously that it did all it could to keep the business going before calling in administrators.

CEO Mark Jackson said: “We left no stone unturned when it came to preserving this incredible business but must concede that with regret, we’ve no choice but to take the difficult decision to enter into administration.

“I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the directors and the Wilkinson family to thank all of our customers and our hardworking team members across our stores, logistics and support centre who remained loyal to Wilko.”