United Kingdom construction firm Carillion liquidates business

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Construction and engineering giant Carillion has collapsed after last-ditch talks with lenders and the government failed.

Carillion are one of the main maintenance companies used by Network Rail, doing work for HS2 as well as the previous High Speed 1 project. The company said it was continuing to hold talks to avoid entering administration after contract delays and a downturn in new business, which have hit its profit and shares.

Some 48,000 people worldwide work for the company, with around 20,000 of those based across the UK.

What discussions did ministers and civil servants have with Carillion representatives before awarding the supplier government contracts following the first profit warning?

However, the government has confirmed it shall be providing funding to maintain public services carried out by Carillion staff, subcontractors and suppliers.

"All [Carillion] employees should keep coming to work, you will continue to get paid", he said.

The biggest question now is who or what is going to pick up the public contracts of the company - the government or an outsourced provide.

The High Court has this morning ordered the compulsory liquidation of the various Carillion companies, appointing the Official Receiver as liquidator and several insolvency practitioners from PwC as special managers.

"Given two billion pounds worth of government contracts were awarded in the time three profit warnings were given by Carillion, a serious investigation needs to be launched into the Government's handling of this matter", said Labour lawmaker Jon Trickett.

Affected staff are being asked to report for work as usual.

In the United Kingdom, it helps look after the train tracks and railway stations and also runs some homes where people in the armed forces live.

Some of Carillion's contracts will be taken on by other firms and some could be renationalised, according to business editor Simon Jack.

The firm is involved in many public infrastructure projects - from transport and health to education and defence - and provides other vital public services such as cleaning and catering in NHS hospitals, the provision of school dinners in almost 900 schools and prison maintenance. Pensions Regulator Executive Director Nicola Parish said it was too soon to tell what would happen to Carillion's pensions, but another spokesperson said the pensions were protected under the Pension Protection Scheme. In the meantime, it said it would provide the necessary funding to maintain public services.

Jim Kennedy, Unite national officer for local government, said: "These have been a grim few days for this workforce".