Britain is ill, and even as the opportunists and populists scramble before the hardened negotiators of the European Union over imminent exit, revising optimistic forecasts and notions of sovereign greatness has begun. Within Theresa May’s decaying state comes yet another economic disaster, and one that has prompted a revival of government assistance before the vicissitudes of the market. This, from a Tory government extolling the divine nature of free market enterprise.
Carillion, the UK’s second biggest construction company, is in a mammoth pickle, one to the tune of £1.5 billion. It has gone into liquidation after the weekend failure to reach agreement with lenders and the government, a fact that literally threatens up to 20,000 jobs within the country, not to mention pension funds to the value of £600m.
Things get even more interesting when one sees where these jobs are, located across a range of industries from defence, health, transport (the HS2 high-speed rail line comes to mind) and education (notable here is the provision of dinners and cleaning for hundreds of schools). In short, the company was something of a poster boy in the outsourcing agenda of government, golden boy of the competitive, tendering process.
The situation for the company has been so notably stricken as to prompt an emergency Cobra meeting by May’s Cabinet lasting for up to two hours. Cabinet Office minister David Lidington suggested with usual understatement in the face…