Collapse of Carillion could harm hundreds of firms

The construction firm Carillion, which has key operations in the Middle East region including a joint venture with UAE conglomerate Al Futtaim, has gone into compulsory liquidation, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk, said a report.

As one of the United Kingdom government's biggest contractors, Carillion's collapse has threatened the jobs of its own 43,000 employees, not to mention hundreds of subcontractors and small business partners.

The firm recently went into talks with the government to reach a deal but this is said to have fallen through and banks are refusing to lend more money.

The failure of Britain's second biggest construction firm puts thousands of jobs at risk in the United Kingdom and overseas.

Speaking earlier in the debate Mr Lidington said the Government was "doing everything possible" to minimise the impact of the Carillion collapse. The collapse raises fears for the jobs and pensions of the 43,000 people employed by the company worldwide as well as questions over what will become of the 450 projects the United Kingdom government has employed the company to carry out.

The group also maintains half of the UK's prisons and is the second largest supplier to Network Rail and Britain's union said the company's collapse highlighted the risks of privatisation.

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Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that big job losses could be avoided "if the government acts quickly and brings contracts back in-house".

How many ongoing contracts does Carillion have with government departments and agencies? Speaking on Radio 4 Today's programme, Cabinet Office minister David Lidington urged staff to go into work as usual.

It has been struggling for some time and in July a year ago issued the first of several profit warnings.

In contracts where Carillion is along as the contractor, the contract might be taken over by another private contractor.

Carillion, which has been struggling under £900 million of debt and a £590 million pension deficit, has seen its shares price plunge more than 70% in the past six months after making a string of profit warnings and breaching its financial covenants.

Carillion's Chairman Philip Green said it was a "very sad day" for the company's workers, suppliers and customers.

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The company said despite considerable efforts, discussions to secure funding have not been successful and has therefore decided to make an application to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the business.

"Taxpayers can not be expected to bail out a private sector company", Lidington said.

He added: "It is of course disappointing that Carillion has become insolvent, but our primary responsibility has always been to keep our essential public services running".

"The position of private sector employees is that they will not be getting the same protection that we're offering to public sector employees, beyond a 48-hour period of grace", he said.

It may have also been good for staff and the fate of the company if they had never received these contracts in the first place.

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