What help for small businesses affected by Carillion collapse?

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What help for small businesses affected by Carillion collapse?

Is your small business directly affected by the Carillion collapse? The story has shocked us all, as the fallout continues to reverberate outwards.

And many small businesses who’ve lost money owed to them by Carillion will be severely shortchanged, it seems, inevitably.

But maybe there are some positive lessons to be drawn: better practice, and protection, for small businesses, moving forward…?

We’d like to hope so.

Sticking plaster

‘Help offered by the banks to businesses owed money by the failed outsourcing giant Carillion will be no more than a “sticking plaster” solution, industry representatives have warned’, starts a piece in The Independent, published in the immediate aftermath of Carillion’s liquidation.

That’s the view, at least, of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), according to the paper.

‘Business Secretary Greg Clark said ministers are working with the banks, trade unions and industry organisations to ensure that everything possible is done to provide “continuity” to thousands of small businesses which have been delivering services as sub-contractors to Carillion’, says the piece.

And it explains how banks have committed almost £250m to the task.

But FSA Chairman Mike Cherry is sceptical. He doubted the support would be sufficient for many.

‘It’s only going to be a sticking plaster to help those who are viable to continue in business and recover in time’, he was quoted, from BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Late payments

‘We all need to understand’, said Mike Cherry, ‘that it is very unlikely – as in any administration or liquidation – that those who have already invoiced Carillion up to the announcement on Monday are going to get anything out of this at all.’

He also used the case to highlight the more general issue of late payments – which, said the Independent, he said ‘should be stopped “as a matter of urgency”.’

‘The FSB had raised concerns with Carillion last year about its policy of extending payment terms to 120 days, he said.’

Public service contracts

And he also encouraged the Government to look to giving smaller businesses better access to public service contracts.

‘Too many large Government contracts are being placed with a very small number of large companies, when small businesses deserve to get that business and bring better value for the taxpayer’, he’s quoted.

The Independent piece also includes Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge to ‘radically shake up procurement rules to end what he called the “outsourcing racket”.’

There’s much more detail: see the full piece here.

It’s a story that’s going to run and run. Clearly. And rightly so.

But whether you’re directly impacted or not, maybe, just maybe, some good can yet emerge…

We’ll be watching this space.

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