FOX’s Biscuits is to axe 50 jobs this year at the company’s Batley headquarters.

The job losses are part of an 18-month modernisation programme which will eventually see 200 posts go at Fox’s Wellington Street plant.

Owner Northern Foods said jobs would go at all three Fox’s Biscuits sites: Batley, Uttoxeter in Staffordshire and Kirkham near Blackpool, as part of a £26.5m investment in robot technology.

Along with the 200 at Batley, about 100 will be axed at Uttoxeter, although 80 new posts will be created at Kirkham to support the new technology.

Those job cuts are expected to be completed by spring next year.

A spokesman for Leeds-based Northern Foods said yesterday that 50 jobs at Batley were now “at risk” and that the company had launched a 90-day consultation period.

He said the company wanted to avoid compulsory redundancies and was seeking volunteers in the first instance.

Northern Foods had previously planned to close the Batley site, which employs more than 900 people – but put those plans on hold in the light of the uncertain economic climate.