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‘National disaster’

More than a dozen projects in Tameside alone now in limbo post-Carillion
Ryan Fletcher, Thursday, October 11th, 2018

The collapse of Carillion in January left half constructed buildings and disrupted public services up and down the country, causing misery for thousands of workers and costing the taxpayers millions.


Nowhere is the damage the mismanagement of the outsourcing giant caused more evident than Tameside in Greater Manchester.


Here the scandal has endangered a disturbing number of services and projects, an investigation by the Manchester Evening News has found.


These include plans to refurbish Tameside’s playgrounds, libraries, an indoor market, leisure facilities, pedestrian crossings, CCTV system, town hall and other council owned buildings.


The future of a proposed £1m children’s home is at risk, while a public private partnership between Tameside’s council and Carillion to provide meals for the boroughs schools has been thrown into chaos.


In fact, the council was forced to pause 18 major investment projects because it had to unexpectedly shell out an extra £9.4m for new builders to complete construction on the local authority’s headquarters, which had been left half built by Carillion.


On top of the £9.4m, the council is also on the hook to pay at least £1m to PricewaterhouseCoopers to clean up the fallout from Carillion.


The extra costs means the council has had to “re-prioritise their plans for future investment and regeneration”.


Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said other local authorities were facing similar choices after being left in the lurch by  Carillion.


“The collapse of Carillion is nothing short of a national disaster. The havoc left in its wake at Tameside – with a host of vital public services and projects now facing the axe and the council forced to fork out millions of pounds – is being replayed up and down the country,” Cartmail said.


“Taxpayers, workers and service users – in other words regular working people – are the ones paying the price for the government’s obsession with doling out public contracts to privateers who are more interested in filling their pockets than doing their jobs.


“Greed was what motivated Carillion’s board and it was greed that brought the whole sorry fiasco crashing down on everybody else’s heads.”


Calling for a public inquiry and criminal investigations “at the very least”, Cartmail said that if what happened at Carillion “wasn’t illegal it should be”.


She added, “But unfortunately we can’t expect the Tories to learn any lessons from Carillion when bandit capitalism is their modus operandi.


“We need a Labour government who will regulate to ensure another Carillion can never happen again and make sure public money is spent for the public good.”


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