LONDON (Reuters) – The former finance director of collapsed British building agency Carillion (CLLN.L) denied being “asleep at the wheel” on Tuesday as lawmakers questioned whether or not the company had taken on an excessive amount of threat, placing hundreds of jobs on the road.
Carillion, which employed almost 18,000 folks in Britain, collapsed on Jan. 15 when its banks halted funding, triggering Britain’s greatest company demise in a decade and forcing the government to step in to ensure public providers from faculty meals to roadworks.
The failure has ignited a row over Britain’s system of outsourcing public providers – every thing from hospital meals and jail safety to the upkeep of nuclear warheads – to competing personal firms who depend on government work for a big a part of their revenue.
“No I don’t believe we were asleep at the wheel,” former FD Zafar Khan stated. “I believe I did everything that I could have done essentially.”
His substitute as finance director Emma Mercer, who had held different finance roles on the group, stated accounting had grow to be extra aggressive within the years earlier than it collapsed however Khan denied that there had been a concerted effort to take threat.
Khan’s feedback prompted a rebuke from opposition lawmaker Rachel Reeves.
“Four months after you left, the company went into liquidation with just 29 million pounds left, leaving thousands of people potentially without jobs, and thousands of people saving for pensions without the pensions they’d expected, but you did everything right at the right time,” she stated.
“Well done Mr Khan.”
Earlier within the listening to interim Chief Executive Keith Cochrane had apologised for the company’s collapse.
“I‘m truly sorry,” he stated. “It was the worst possible outcome. This was a business worth fighting for and that’s certainly what I sought to do during my time as chief executive.”
Responding to questions, Cochrane stated that web debt was too excessive on the finish of 2016 and the company was making an attempt to scale back it earlier than it confronted a deterioration of money stream after March 2017.
The government is working to guard some jobs however 829 redundancies have already been made.
Reporting by Paul Sandle and Sarah Young; enhancing by Kate Holton