Capita & Carillion – A Tale of Two City Companies vindicates Jeremy Corbyn’s warnings

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  • Capita & Carillion both grew through acquisition and not through organic growth.
  • Capita & Carillion both relied on the Taxpayer for half of their contracts.
  • Capita & Carillion both paid out dividends of more than £1 billion in the past five years.
  • Capita & Carillion were both audited by KPMG.
  • Capita & Carillion both have debts of more than £1 billion.
  • Capita & Carillion both had pensions deficits in the hundreds of millions.

“Only two weeks ago, I warned that there was a danger that this whole outsourcing problem would become a set of dominoes, with one falling after another. I believe the House will conclude that the Government’s behaviour in response, and the Minister’s response today, has been marked by indifference to corporate mismanagement, incompetence in office and complacency in the face of a crisis.

The Minister will not tell the House, but I will: Capita was given 154 Government contracts last year. Only last week, Carillion contracts were being re-brokered to Capita, yet the company was clearly in trouble. Share values were plummeting and profit warnings were being issued. There was short selling on the stock market and allegations against Capita of fraud in the handling of public contracts. Yesterday, Capita’s total value on the exchange was barely much more than its total debt. The company is in serious trouble. It is a familiar tale of woe, with strong echoes of Carillion.

We want to know that the Government’s contingency plans in relation to Capita will assure jobs for current employees and protect the pensions of those employees and the pensions of the public sector workers that the company is managing. Will the Minister confirm that the public services that Capita manages will be protected in the event of a corporate disaster? Does the Government’s contingency plan allow for that? What will be the common impact of the problems at Carillion, and now Capita, on the spiralling costs of HS2? Does the Minister agree with the Opposition that not a single penny should be used to prop up badly managed outsourcing companies?

The Government are blind to the corporate greed of these outsourcing companies. Does the Minister agree that it is clear that, as the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, the hon. Member for Bracknell (Dr Lee), said only the other day, the Government should be driven by the “evidence, not dogma” on outsourcing?