Government launches Carillion support taskforce

The government’s newly formed taskforce set up to monitor and advise on mitigating the impacts of Carillion’s liquidation on construction firms has had its first meeting

The taskforce, chaired by business secretary Greg Clark, with support from the small business minister Andrew Griffiths, has representatives from business bodies, the construction trade sector, Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), unions, banks and government.

It has been set up to act as a means for all involved to work together to ensure the impact of the Carillion insolvency on the firm’s employees in the private, as well as public, sector is minimised and to help them recover with support ranging from relaxing bank loan repayment dates to extending HMRC tax deadlines in certain instances.

At the first meeting, government officials spoke about a range of issues, covering the support available from banks and HMRC, and the offer from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) for apprentices, and identified how relevant information can be shared to keep people in work and training.

The next meeting will cover discussions about potential ‘job matching and contract matching’, Clark said.

Banking support

On Wednesday, Lloyds Banking Group launched a £50m fund, HSBC a £100m fund and RBS has made £75m of assistance available to small companies along the supply chain affected by Carillion’s collapse.

HMRC

On tax issues HMRC is offering practical advice and guidance for businesses affected by the Carillion liquidation is via HMRC’s Business Payment Support Service (BPSS), which can suspend any debt collection proceedings and review penalties for missing deadlines.

These include agreeing instalment arrangements for tax payments; reviewing penalties for missing statutory deadlines; reducing any payments on account; and agreeing to defer payments due to short-term cash flow difficulties.

The BPSS service is open seven days a week between 8.00am and 8.00pm on weekdays, closing at 4.00pm on Saturday and Sunday: tel: 0300 200 3835.

Apprentices

The CITB has attempted to contact the 1,400 apprentices who had placements through Carillion, and says hundreds have already been booked in for events being held across the country this week.

CITB is offering every former Carillion apprentice a face-to-face session to find out their individual learning needs, and is appealing for other employers within the construction sector to offer them new roles.

Apprentices should contact tel: 0344 994 4010 or email carillion.apprenticeshipsupport@citb.co.uk  to contact CITB’s dedicated support team.

Federation of Small Businesses chairman Mike Cherry said the collapse of Carillion underlined the risks to stability of the wider business community if the government continued to rely on a small number of large outsourcing firms.

‘As things stand, our procurement regime is stacked against small firms. Providing small businesses and the self-employed with more opportunities to secure public contracts will mean less risk and better return for the taxpayer. At the very least we need to see the reinstatement of the target date for achieving 33% of all public sector procurement with smaller businesses, to 2020,’ he said.

By Pat Sweet

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