Up to 40 legal staff, including solicitors, have been placed at risk of redundancy after insurance giant Direct Line announced a major restructuring plan.

The Gazette understands a mixture of fee-earners and back-office staff from national firm Parabis were told this morning they are affected. Based in Liverpool, the at-risk workers are sub-contracted by Parabis’s claims division to Direct Line.

A spokeswoman for Parabis said efforts are now underway to transfer those affected to other operations in Manchester.

The job cuts form part of Direct Line’s efforts to cut costs, after it was spun off from Royal Bank of Scotland last year as a condition of the bank's £45bn government bailout. Around 2,000 roles may become redundant and the group has begun consultation with staff and their representative bodies.

Paul Geddes, chief executive of Direct Line Group, said: ‘We have not made these proposed changes lightly and understand the impact they will have on our people.’