BDO, one of the leading accountancy firms in the UK, has reportedly made a U-turn on repaying a sum of £4.1 million in furlough money, that it had obtained from taxpayers following a backlash regarding massive payouts to partners. The company will be returning the amount to HM Revenue & Customs within days after witnessing the public mood, cited a statement by BDO.
According to BDO’s Managing Partner, Paul Eagland, the firm had obtained £4.1 million of furlough money from the government for protecting jobs that would otherwise be at risk. The company was planning to review the process of repayment by June 2021, the end of its ongoing financial year. However, recognizing that current public mood requires a much rapid process, BDO has advanced this process and will be returning the money prior to Christmas, expressed Eagland.
Apparently, it is pretty disgraceful for a business to take millions of pounds of public money while paying huge amounts to its senior management, opined the High Pay Centre thinktank. The defence that the firm required it for protecting jobs is ludicrous when a small sacrifice from each partner could comfortably cover the repayment costs, still leaving them with earnings that would be more than £500,000 a year, asserted the Centre.
BDO elicited a row the previous week after having decided to keep the furlough money in spite of paying its 264 partners an average sum of £518,000 each. The company had reportedly made an overall payment of £137 million to its partners and had earlier refused to make a repayment, as there had been an internal moral debate concerning the repayment, where it was decided it had a higher responsibility of investing in jobs.
Supposedly, the furlough money received by BDO early on in the pandemic had helped the company in saving 700 employees from possible redundancy. The company’s partners had also been hit, as their earnings had dropped from the average amount of £602,000 that they had secured a year ago.