EUROPE’S biggest bank HSBC is to cut up to 25,000 jobs worldwide including 8,000 in the UK by 2017, it was announced yesterday.

As part of a plan to cuts costs and reshape the business, HSBC said it was planning a reduction of around 10 per cent of its full-time workforce – the bank employs almost 270,000 staff globally.

Around 3,000 of those employees are based in Scotland, though the bank has fewer than a dozen branches here, with most of the staff working in the investment division.

HSBC will also sell its extensive businesses in Turkey and Brazil, which will reduce the bank’s workforce by around 25,000, though it is presumed that staff in these countries will transfer to a new owner.

The HSBC brand will also disappear from Britain’s high streets as new laws are forcing a separation of the bank’s retail arm from the parent company.

Speculation is that the group’s successful First Direct brand may transfer to the retail banks.

The overall aim is to cut the bank’s costs by £3.25 billion, and increase investment in Asia, where the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation was established in the former Crown Colony in 1865 by Scottish banker and Liberal MP Sir Thomas Sutherland.

It grew to a world giant after the Second World War, during which its head office moved to London from Hong Kong to avoid the Japanese invasion, and its rise to market dominance was sealed with the purchase of the Midland Bank in 1992.

Chief executive Stuart Gulliver said yesterday: “We recognise that the world has changed and we need to change with it. That is why we are outlining… the strategic actions that will further transform our organisation.”

Gulliver said Asia is “expected to show high growth and become the centre of global trade over the next decade – our actions will allow us to capture expected future growth opportunities.”

The bank may also move its global headquarters away from the UK, not least because of chancellor George Osborne’s banking levy which saw HSBC hit with a £700 million bill.

Unite, the trade union representing thousands of HSBC staff, slammed the cuts as “the latest example of the workforce being punished for the misconduct of senior and investment bankers.”

Dominic Hook, Unite national office for finance, said: “Unite are seeking to meet with UK chief executive Antonio Simoes as soon as possible to demand that any redundancies are through voluntary means or managed through natural attrition.

“This latest wave of job losses is a stab in the back to a dedicated workforce who have put HSBC back on the road to recovery since 2008.

“After all the scandals of recent years, front line staff have suffered time and time again as they are forced to pay for the mistakes of others with their jobs, their terms and conditions and their reputation.

“Unite will consult with our members in HSBC, we will fight for them and we will support them.”