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Carillion: Ministers to face MPs committees

15 March 2018 | By Will Mann

Esther McVey and Greg Clark are to face MPs on 21 March (Wikipedia)

The ministers for business and for work and pensions are to appear before two influential MPs committees investigating the collapse of Carillion.

Greg Clark, secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) and Esther McVey, secretary of state for work and pensions, will be questioned on 21 March. 

The BEIS and the work and pensions committees launched a joint inquiry into the fall of the construction giant in January, focusing on the mountain of debt it left behind, job losses, pension deficit and unfinished public contracts.

Three partners from PwC, the Official Receiver for Carillion, will also appear at the session: Marissa Thomas, head of deals, David Kelly, special manager and Gavin Stoner, restructuring and pensions partner.

Earlier this week, the committees’ chairs criticised Carillion for making payments totalling £6.4m to City advisers on 12 January, the day before the company requested further financial assistance from the government.

Frank Field MP, chair of the work and pensions committee, said: “With the company teetering on the abyss, [Carillion chairman] Philip Green had the cheek to try to get the government to surrender another £160m of taxpayers’ money. I am not surprised the government took with a pinch of salt his assurances that all would be reimbursed once he had unscrambled the eggs.

“The most troubling element of this letter is its demands for an immediate £10m from taxpayers, the very next day after Carillion shelled out £6.4m to its advisers. The smaller suppliers that are the lifeblood of the British economy of course got no such treatment.

“The letter is adorned throughout with Carillion's motto “making tomorrow a better place”. Perhaps, but better for whom?”

Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the BEIS committee, said: “This 11th hour ransom note lays bare the cynical leadership of the Carillion board. Directors’ management ensured that the costs of failure would be picked up by the taxpayer – either from a bailout or footing the bill for a desperate clean-up operation.

“Expensive advisers still pocketed millions while workers risked losing jobs and long-suffering suppliers faced financial ruin.”

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