A LEADING construction charity has said the human cost of Carillion cannot be overlooked.
The Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity says the collapse of the Wolverhampton-based firm will have far-reaching consequences throughout the industry and the economy.
But CEO Bill Hill said there is also a real risk the human cost will be overlooked.
“The BBC interviewed the TUC who proposed the need for a centrally co-ordinated taskforce to mitigate the impact of this once great company’s demise,” he said.
“However, when you review the key objectives of the taskforce it does little to address the emotional and mental wellbeing of the individuals involved.
“There is talk of involving unions, bringing public sector contracts back in house and supporting the transfer of private sector contracts to alternative providers, but nothing about how we can make an immediate difference to those people’s lives that have been turned upside down overnight.”
The charity, which operates a helpline to supports construction industry families in crisis, handed out £705,000 in emergency aid last year.
Its Construction Industry Helpline supported more than 1,500 families of construction workers in need of assistance in 2017.
Of the 1,500 calls received by the helpline, 1,100 of these were given advice and support on issues ranging from stress and depression to legal, debt management and taxation advice.
'There is nothing about how we can make an immediate difference to those people’s lives that have been turned upside down overnight'
More than 400 of these families also received a sum from the £705,000 spent on emergency financial help.
“As a charity who’s only concern is to support those in need in the construction industry, we are looking at this for a totally different angle,” Mr Hill said in relation to the Carillion collapse.
“There is no doubt that every single employee of Carillion, along with all the individuals within the businesses affected will be experiencing emotional turmoil and feeling at a complete loss as to what to do or where to turn to for help.”
Construction giant Carillion announced its decision to initiate insolvency proceedings after talks with the company’s banks and lenders collapsed last week.
The firm, which employs 20,000 people across Britain, ran into trouble after losing money on big contracts and running up huge debts.
The company is involved in major projects such as the HS2 high-speed rail line, as well as managing schools and prisons.
Carillion also held a contract for an Irish schools bundle project consisting of the design, build, finance and maintenance of the six schools on four sites.
In Britain, it is the second biggest supplier of maintenance services to Network Rail, and it maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence.
The Lighthouse Charity’s confidential helpline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing access to a range of support services for construction workers and their families in Britain and Ireland.
On average, it receives around 120 calls per month.
In addition to its counselling services, the charity, which receives no government funding, has introduced a debt advice service to support applicants who had got themselves in to debt because of their accident or illness.