Government demands investigation into Carillion directors

THE government wants a fast-track probe into bosses at Carillion.

Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 12:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th January 2018, 12:27 pm
Queen Alexandra Hospital

Carillion, which provides services at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, went into liquidation yesterday.

More than 800 staff at the hospital are waiting to hear of their fates.

Government has demanded an investigation into the behaviour of directors at Carillion.

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‘It is important we quickly get the full picture of the events which caused Carillion to enter liquidation,’ said business secretary, Greg Clark.

‘Any evidence of misconduct will be taken very seriously,’ he said.

A last ditch plea from Carillion to the government to provide it with a £20 million lifeline fell on deaf ears over the weekend, triggering a compulsory liquidation to be overseen by PwC.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Carillion’s collapse was a ‘watershed moment’ that should bring an end to ‘rip-off privatisation’ of public services.

But after attending a meeting of the government’s emergency planning committee Cobra on Monday night, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington said efforts to deal with the crisis had ‘gone pretty well’.

He said: ‘The message today was that day one had gone pretty well, people were turning up to work, we had not had reports of any serious disruption to service delivery.’

Carillion has public sector or public/private partnership contracts worth £1.7 billion, including providing school dinners, cleaning and catering at NHS hospitals, construction work on rail projects such as HS2 and maintaining 50,000 army base homes for the Ministry of Defence.

The group, which employs around 20,000 British workers, has been struggling under £900 million of debt and a £587 million pension deficit.

The company is responsible for a range of services at Queen Alexandra hospital in Cosham and staff have expressed their concern over pay.

Trade union Unison said ‘it was a terrible time for the thousands of staff employed by Carillion’.

James Smith, regional organiser for Unison south east, said: ‘Staff are pretty shocked by everything that is going on and the uncertainty of their future.

‘Carillion employees are being asked to carry on working and be relied upon even though they cannot rely on the company to pay them longer than a month and their pensions, that is disgraceful.’

Theresa May’s official spokesman said that, initially, the government will be paying staff through the Official Receiver to ensure that public services continue to run as normal.

He added that there would be some additional burden on the taxpayer from the cost of the receiver.