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Revealed: Jobs could go at £300,000 grant firm Asons

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karlypants

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse
Asons solicitors, the firm at the centre of the Bolton Council grant storm, are planning further redundancies, The Bolton News can reveal.

The law firm said it could lose four staff members as it strives to remain efficient following ‘significant changes’ in the personal injury industry in which it operates.

Asons hit the headlines last year when it was revealed it had received a £300,000 grant from Bolton Council to help with the redevelopment of its new headquarters in Newspaper House in Churchgate.

Critics of the grant decision have asked what due diligence was done on the company and whether Asons’ current financial position was considered before the grant was given.

Asons’ latest published accounts for the year ending May 31 2015 — indicate that in that financial year the firm made a loss of £892,681.

The accounts also show that the firm has been the subject of a claim by HMRC which, if successful, could result in an amount payable of £300,000.

In 2015 Asons was forced to cancel plans for a new £5 million headquarters in Clarence Street and make redundancies because of a Government crackdown on the personal injury law industry.

But the firm said the latest restructuring is not ‘out of the ordinary’ and pointed out it has also created new jobs in recent months.

A spokesman said: “Due to the significant changes within our industry, we as a business need to ensure that we maintain efficiency and profitability.

“As part of this, there is a possibility of four redundancies in certain departments of the business.

“It is important to note that in the past three months we have created eight new positions within other divisions of Asons.

“We are in the process of finalising our latest statutory accounts and are looking forward to publishing our results in due course.

“Unfortunately, redundancies are part of business and not something out of the ordinary, but are sometimes necessary to ensure that a business is in a position of strength to move forward.”

Tory Cllr Martyn Cox, who along with other opposition members has questioned the awarding of the grant, said the latest news continued to paint a concerning picture.

He said: “Lots of companies make redundancies for different reasons but this certainly adds to the picture of Asons’ financial position.

“From the accounts we know that they are losing money and are in dispute with HMRC and now we learn of more redundancies.

“It all shows that this is not a very robust company.”

The Westhoughton North and Chew Moor Councillor added: “It is certainly unclear what due diligence was carried out by the council before they granted this money.”

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