Carillion plunges on reports lenders have rejected its debt restructuring plan

Media playback is unsupported on your device                  Media caption Bailing out Carillion'would send the wrong message, Vince Cable says

The crisis-hit construction firm, one of the largest suppliers of services to the public sector, has called on the government to step in to reduce the financial burden of a string of failed projects around the country.

Carillion also has major contracts to supply facilities management at 83 military sites in Scotland, as well as a 28-year contract managing the "elderly beds facility" at Glasgow's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.

He told the BBC: "I think what has to happen in this case is the contracts have to be kept going and supporting the supply chain and the tens of thousands of workers and that can be done by the Government taking a lot of this in-house or re-tendering in other cases". We urgently need to know just how exposed the Scottish Government and the public purse is if Carillion were to collapse. It maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence, manages almost 900 schools and is heavily involved in the highways and prisons.

In addition to its rail operations, Carillion also manages almost 900 schools, provides services to the NHS and works with National Grid.

Its share price plummeted 90 per cent after announcing its first profit warning in July past year.

"The government remains supportive of Carillion's ongoing discussions with their stakeholders", Blain said.

They added: "Based on our current trading assumptions (Dec' 18 EBITDA £188m with material downside risk) and our estimates of the mounting debt ( £1.1bn), likely additional supply chain funding/working capital unwind ( £300m) and pension liabilities (£600m), we now see no equity value".

"You can see that one the one hand, it's in everybody's best interest that Carillion continues, but at the same time it's hard to chart a way forward".

Unless that funding materialises - either from commercial lenders or in the form of emergency Government support - Carillion would be likely to crash into administration, threatening the jobs of at least some of the 19,500 people it employs in the UK.

A spokeswoman for Carillion said it met creditors on Wednesday but would not comment on reports of further talks.

The Guardian's website reported shadow business secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, as saying: "The collapse of Carillion could provoke a serious crisis". It is also a key contractor on the £56bn HS2 rail project.

Unite said that despite the Government having said that it has contingency plans should Carillion collapse it believes it must go further and make clear that it is considering all options.

A spokesperson for the Pensions Regulator said the organisation remained "closely involved" in discussions with Carillion and the trustees of its pension schemes.

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