The collapsed construction giant Carillion employs an estimated 1,000 people in Scotland and is involved in at least eight major public projects in the country, it emerged yesterday.
An idea of the scale of the firm’s Scottish operations came to light in official correspondence from Keith Brown, the economy secretary.
When asked in a parliamentary question how many people worked for Carillion in Scotland, Mr Brown was unable to give a precise answer but said he believed the number to be close to 1,000.
Concern over the future of Carillion workers has been mounting since its collapse earlier this month.
Carillion, which has been struggling under £900 million of debt and a £590m pension deficit, has seen its shares price plunge more than 70 per cent in the past six months after making a string of profit warnings and breaching its financial covenants.
Lenders – including Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC, Barclays and Santander – are reportedly set to lose an estimated £2 billion as a result of the collapse. Across the UK, the company’s collapse has threatened thousands of jobs. Carillion held more than 450 UK government contracts when it was put into compulsory liquidation.
A letter from Mr Brown to the Scottish Parliament’s economy committee said that eight Scottish projects involved Carillion.
They included the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route for Aberdeen City Council, a facilities management contract for the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration and a similar arrangement with Registers of Scotland.
The West of Scotland Housing Association has a facilities management contract with the company, while the North Glasgow Housing Association had a general builders work agreement.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has a facilities management contract under a private finance initiative provider. Highlands and Islands Enterprise has two facilities management contracts.
And Network Rail has four contracts, three of which are for the electrification of the Shotts line and one for platform extension works at Edinburgh Waverley station.
Jackie Baillie, Labour’s finance spokeswoman, said the extent of Carillion’s involvement in the Scottish economy was “deeply concerning”.
She said: “It is deeply concerning that Carillion is involved in so many projects in Scotland, including hospitals, housing associations and railway stations.
“The company is clearly far more involved in the Scottish economy than the SNP has previously admitted, while SNP economy minister Keith Brown does not even know how many people Carillion actually employs in Scotland. This is unacceptable.
“The SNP has been sleepwalking through this crisis, leaving workers and businesses in the supply chain facing uncertainty.
“Scotland’s economy cannot take more shocks – what we need now is transparency.
“Instead of tinkering around the edges like the SNP, Scottish Labour believes we should come up with a new way of funding public sector projects that does not put huge profits in the pockets of shareholders – and it is imperative that the SNP conduct a review of public sector infrastructure projects without further delay.”
A spokesman for Mr Brown said: “This is a spectacular own goal from Labour, who are only reminding people about the massive cost to the public purse of the ruinously expensive PFI deals they signed up to.
“This list of contracts, including those in the NHS, is dominated by Tory-style PFI deals which Labour agreed to.”