THERE are fears for thousands of jobs after Britain's second largest construction firm is to go into liquidation.
Construction giant Carillion announced its decision to initiate insolvency proceedings after talks with the company's banks and lenders collapsed over the weekend.
The firm, which employs 20,000 people across Britain, ran into trouble after losing money on big contracts and running up huge debts.
Carillion needed £300 million of short-term funding but the Government refused to rescue the Wolverhampton-based firm
Its failure means the government will have to provide funding to maintain the public services run by Carillion.
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.
The 2016 project provided five schools and one Institute of Further Education located in counties Meath, Carlow, Wicklow and Wexford.
In the UK, it is the second biggest supplier of maintenance services to Network Rail, and it maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence.
Cabinet Office Minister the Rt Hon David Lidington CBE MP said: "It is regrettable that Carillion has not been able to find suitable financing options with its lenders but taxpayers cannot be expected to bail out a private sector company.
"Since profit warnings were first issued in July, the Government has been closely monitoring the situation and has been in constructive discussion with Carillion while it sought to refinance its business.
"We remained hopeful that a solution could be found while putting robust contingency plans in place to prepare for every eventuality.
"It is of course disappointing that Carillion has become insolvent, but our primary responsibility has always been keep our essential public services running safely.
"We understand that some members of the public will be concerned by recent news reports.
"All employees should keep coming to work, you will continue to get paid. Staff that are engaged on public sector contracts still have important work to do.
"Since its inception in the 1990s private finance has helped to deliver around £60 billion of much-needed capital investment in infrastructure in the UK across a range of projects and we will continue to maintain partnerships with responsible firms in future."