London, February 10:

As Indian investors stalk British companies with takeover offers, the economic logic of outsourcing operations to India continues to direct the growth plans of major companies, despite protests from the affected employees.

Tata Steel has been the latest big budget Indian investor, having taken over Corus in January. The spa-te of takeovers by Indian investors and the creation of jobs in Britain has partially reduced the decibel level of protests against outsourcing to India. The National Health Service has announced that it will export hundreds of clerical jobs, including accounting functions, to India. “I recently gave permission to outsource 60 percent of work to India,” it deputy finance director said.

“It could go higher, but the constraint is that we cannot move jobs to India at the expense of shedding jobs in the United Kingdom. Politics will be an important factor,” he added. The latest traffic of outsourcing from Britain to India involves the insurance giant Prudential, which this week confirmed that it will offshore 130 jobs from its main Scottish site to India over the next 12-18 months.

The company, which employs more than 2,500 at Craigforth, near Stirling, said the jobs would be moved to Mumbai — alon-gside a further 80 currently based in Reading. It said the move was part of its pledge to cut £150 million from its costs.

The latest move follows the decision by the company in April 2006 to move 200 jobs to Craigforth and 230 to Mumbai, as it closed three out of five of its UK sites at Belfast, Bristol and Holborn Bars in London.

Bank major Lloyds TSB, which already has a significant presence in India, announced the closure of its back-office operation at the Thorpe Wood service centre in Peterborough this year.

The Lloyds TSB Group Union claimed that the decision to close the centre was linked to plans to relocate more back-office roles to India, where the bank has around 2,500 workers.