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Task force to help firms and workers hit by Carillion crisis

The task force will support workers and small companies hit by the collapse of the construction giant.

The Government is setting up a task force involving business and unions to support firms and workers affected by the collapse of Carillion, the Business Department has announced.

The group will meet later on Thursday to review the impact of the crisis caused by the construction giant going into liquidation.

A Business Department spokesman said the move was aimed at supporting and monitoring the impact on small businesses and workers.

Business Secretary Greg Clark will chair the meeting.

The Business Department spokesman said: “We have created a task force to continue to support and monitor the impact on small businesses and employees who have been affected by Carillion’s insolvency.

“The task force will meet today and will comprise representatives from business, construction trade associations, the trade unions, lenders and Government.”

The TUC will be part of the task force, saying it will press for the transfer of private sector contracts to alternative providers with jobs, pay and pensions protected, a comprehensive support package for at-risk workers, apprentices and small firms, and protection for agency and zero-hours workers on Carillion contracts to ensure they can recover unpaid wages.

The union organisation will also call for Carillion’s public-service contracts to be brought back in-house, an urgent risk assessment on other large outsourcing firms, and a moratorium on future outsourcing.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We are pleased the Government has agreed to union calls for a national task force to deal with the collapse of Carillion.

“Time is of the essence in dealing with this crisis. We need urgent action to protect jobs, pay and pensions.”

Earlier, banking giant Lloyds announced a £50 million package of support to its small business customers affected by the fallout from Carillion’s liquidation.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:  “The formation of a task force, combined with moves to ensure banks provide sub-contractors with a sympathetic ear are practical steps that Unite demanded to provide temporary relief for the many firms in Carillion’s supply chain.

“There should be no delay in setting this task force to work so that it can provide the practical support urgently needed to safeguard jobs and businesses, to keep services supplied and building sites ticking over.

“The Government must use the task force to ensure those caught up by Carillion’s collapse avoid financial ruin and that mothballed sites start humming with activity again as a matter of urgency. ”

The Business Secretary said: “I welcome this quick and positive move by banks including Lloyds, HSBC and RBS.

“This follows my meeting with the banks yesterday, where I challenged them to see what further support they could provide for SMEs affected by Carillion’s insolvency.

“It is essential that small businesses exposed are given the support they need by their lenders, and I look forward to other banks following suit.”

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