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Express & Star comment: Carillion task force is closing the stable door after the horse has bolted

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published:

So three days after the collapse of Carillion, and the Government has set up a task force to help those affected.

Business Secretary Greg Clark

The group – which involves businesses, politicians and unions and met for the first time yesterday – will look at ways to support anyone impacted by the firm's liquidation.

The task force has pledged to support and monitor the impact on small businesses and employees.

This is all well and good but isn't this yet another case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted?

Already this week we have seen a city MP apologise for not raising the issue sooner in Parliament.

Now the impression is that ministers are finally trying to tackle a problem they should have addressed months ago.

Are we really to believe that the Government took a back seat on all of this, simply because it was believed the firm could be stabilised with a series of huge contracts?

You cannot run a business – or a country for that matter – on hope alone.

These days it seems that as soon as anything goes wrong, a task force is formed.

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But what do they ever achieve?

While advice on jobs and company payments may be welcomed in some quarters, the vast majority of people affected by this desperate situation would have preferred Government action at an earlier stage.

Ministers needed to be pro-active months ago, rather that reacting to something that has already gone badly wrong.

Meanwhile, there is a danger that the issue is already becoming overly politicised.

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Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is clearly intent on using Carillion's failure as evidence of why public contracts should be brought in-house.

When an issue becomes political currency, the real victims – in this case the workers, thousands of small and medium sized businesses, and the taxpayer – end up losing out.

Politicians are never happier than when given the chance to play the blame game.

When the dust settles on all of this, when all the finger-pointing and accusations have died down, there will be a time to look at how we can ensure such a collapse never happens again.

But for the time being, the focus must be on those who need support.

Carillion must not be allowed to fall through the cracks.

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