Breaking news alert: a private-sector company providing previously state-run services is not about to collapse, require refinancing, or pay massive bonuses to its former bosses… er, in fact, it has just reported a stronger than expected financial performance. Don’t tell Jeremy Corbyn or John McDonnell. Yes, Royal Mail, the privatised logistics utility that the Labour party leadership and two-thirds of the population think should be renationalised, has issued a nine-month trading update slightly ahead of market expectations, writes Matthew Vincent.
Another 24 hours into the liquidation of Carillion, and the crisis seems to spread wider by the minute, writes Matthew Vincent. Last night came news that another contractor, Interserve, has been put on financial health watch by government, as concerns about outsourced contracts grow. And, this morning, thousands of Carillion’s former employees are still waiting for clarity over their jobs – as a government guarantee to keep paying workers on private-sector contracts expires.
Carillion’s collapse and liquidation are set to have more repercussions today – and provoke more recriminations. Among the more astonishing facts to emerge yesterday was that not a single direct employee had been dismissed from the construction group. “Everyone is still on the payroll,” said the Official Receiver on Monday – including, it would seem, former boss Richard Howson, who stepped down last July but will keep receiving his £660,000 salary and £28,000 of benefits until October.