Calls for government to offer financial support in wake of Carillion’s demise

Leading representatives of the UK construction industry have called on the government to financially support those most at risk from Carillion’s collapse, while calling on the sector to offer a free jobs exchange to ensure vital skilled workers are not lost.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association and Build UK say that only a combined response from the government and the sector will prove sufficient in turning around the prospects of the 20,000 people who are employed by Carillion across the UK. Approximately 30,000 businesses are also thought to be owed money in retention payments and for work carried out prior to the liquidation which was confirmed on Monday (15 January).

The two bodies represent companies who deliver a large proportion of building and infrastructure construction activity in the UK and have responded to Carillion’s collapse by releasing a four-point plan to mitigate the consequences. 

"Urgent steps must be taken to support Carillion's workers and suppliers. We believe the government and industry must work together to mitigate effects of the company's liquidation."
Alasdair Reisner, CECA chief executive.

With the potential for thousands to be left redundant, CECA and Build UK have proposed the idea of a free jobs exchange given the acute skills challenges faced by the industry. 

CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Urgent steps must be taken to support Carillion’s workers and suppliers. We believe that government and industry must work together to mitigate effects of the company’s liquidation and ensure the thousands of capable staff are able to remain in our industry. Government and industry must closely cooperate to protect the wider UK construction industry and its supply chain, which is a key driver of economic growth.” 

The four-point plan put forward by CECA and Build UK:

  • Industry to offer a free jobs exchange to advertise employees that are made redundant from Carillion
  • Work to identify key at-risk suppliers where their work impacts across wider sector, and look at options   to support either through short-term funding/loan or other actions to ensure vital capacity is not lost
  • Publish, where possible, a list of potential contracts for transfer
  • Share details of known creditors with trade bodies, so industry can provide direct support to those most   likely to be impacted

Short-term and long-term funding is also highlighted as an important step in restoring confidence, as the concerns for thousands of suppliers which provide essential and often niche services continue to grow. The two trade bodies say that in order to prevent wider impacts, ministers need to quickly identify those most in danger and put in place appropriate support to ensure they can continue to trade.

Build UK chief executive Suzannah Nichol, said: “The impact of Carillion’s liquidation will be felt across the construction supply chain. To deliver much needed change to the industry’s business model, it is critical that industry and government work together to support those companies which are most affected and the staff whose skills and talents are needed in the industry.”

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