According to the Financial Times, staff were informed of the proposed move on Wednesday (10 June), with the firm stating that the restructuring was planned prior to Covid-19 but was delayed following the lockdown announcement on 23 March.
A spokesperson told Accountancy Today: “I can confirm we are progressing with a restructuring project which was planned prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, but was subsequently put on hold during the lockdown.
“This involves areas of our tax and advisory business where we are unable to achieve the levels of profitability aligned to our business plan and puts the roles of around 70 people at risk. We are consulting with those individuals affected, and discussing redeployment options where suitable.”
The spokesperson added: “Having assessed the criteria for using furlough, the firm believes it would be inappropriate for it to do so in these circumstances. The furlough mechanism was designed to preserve roles that had temporarily diminished or ceased as a result of Covid-19 and where there is a reasonable prospect of that work returning as the UK comes out of lockdown.
“As these roles at risk were deemed unsustainable in the future, it would be inappropriate for them to be furloughed. Whilst not an easy decision to take, particularly at this time, we are supporting those impacted asbest we can in these circumstances.”
In April Grant Thornton reportedly cut the pay and hours of what was reported to be around 300 members of staff whose workload had declined due to the pandemic, in a bid to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on profits.
A spokesperson for Grant Thornton UK said at the time that although it entered this “unprecedented period” in a “strong financial position” it expected the impact of Covid-19 to mean its profits may come in 20% below previous expectations.