Carillion too busy ‘stuffing their mouths with gold’ to worry about workers, say MPs

QA Hospital, Cosham
QA Hospital, Cosham
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THE FORMER employer of hundreds of workers at Queen Alexandra Hospital has been attacked by government committees for lacking decisiveness and bravery to tackle failures in corporate regulation.

Engineering giant Carillion employed hundreds of support and maintenance staff at Queen Alexandra Hospital until the firm collapsed this year.

Across the country thousands of people lost their jobs when the company went bust.

Directors at Carillion were too busy ‘stuffing their mouths with gold’ to worry about the workers and should face the possibility of disqualification, according to a scathing report by MPs.

The MPs said that following a series of hearings into Carillion’s liquidation, it was clear that the board presided over ‘rotten corporate culture’.

Last month a new company took over at QA.

Engie will now provide the services including cleaning, maintenance, car parking and pest control for three to six months while a permanent contract is secured.

Carillion became a ‘giant and unsustainable corporate time bomb’, said the Work and Pensions and Business Select Committees.

Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions Committee, said: ‘A board of directors too busy stuffing their mouths with gold to show any concern for the welfare of their workforce or their pensioners.

‘They rightly face investigation of their fitness to run a company again.

‘This is a disgraceful example of how much of our capitalism is allowed to operate, waved through by a cosy club of auditors, conflicted at every turn.’

Rachel Reeves, who chairs the Business Committee, said: ‘Carillion’s collapse was a disaster for all those who lost their jobs and the small businesses, contractors and suppliers left fighting for survival.

‘The company’s delusional directors drove Carillion off a cliff and then tried to blame everyone but themselves.

‘Their colossal failure as managers meant they effectively pressed the self-destruct button on the company.’

Former finance director Richard Adam, who was named in the MPs’ report as the ‘architect of Carillion’s aggressive accounting policies’ said in a statement: ‘Despite retiring over a year before Carillion went into insolvency, I am deeply saddened by the events that have since overtaken the company.

‘The reasons for the collapse are clearly complex; however, I reject the unwarranted conclusions the committees have reached concerning my role at the company

‘I have objected to the committees about quotes that they have misattributed to me. I look forward to contributing to the due process and conclusion of the various investigations that are still ongoing.’

A government spokesman said: ‘Our priority has been the continued, safe running of public services and to minimise the impact of Carillion’s insolvency. The plans we put in place have ensured this.

‘The government wants to see a strong and varied supplier base where companies of all sizes benefit from long term and stable government contracts.

‘That’s why we have recently announced a number of measures to support government suppliers - strengthening our commitment to prompt payment; protecting staff, businesses and small suppliers from irresponsible directors.

‘We welcome the report from the joint select committee and will respond fully in due course.’