MP says no jobs will go as Interserve building A63 footbridge in administration

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 19 Mar 2019

No jobs are set to be lost as a result of the sale of the debt-ridden company building the £12m footbridge over the A63, according to a government minister.

Interserve was plunged into administration after racking up of a debt of £631m.

The government contractor, which employs over 40,000 people in the UK, manages public services with its staff working in prisons, hospitals and schools across the country.

It is also building the new bridge over Castle Street which will connect the city centre to Hull’s Fruit Market and the Marina near Princes Quay Shopping Centre.

Despite the collapse, bosses at Interserve reassured the people of Hull that the footbridge scheme would not be affected, and now further clarification over the future of Interserve has been announced by MP Oliver Dowden.

The Implentation Minister told the House of Commons that the sale of the company would leave jobs, pensions and public services “unaffected”.

The Conservative MP for Hertsmere in Hertfordshire said: “Government is not responsible for decisions taken by companies in the private sector, what Government is responsible for is the continued delivery of public services and I can assure the House this has happened in this case.

"Schools continue to be cleaned, roads continue to be repaired and improved and services in Government buildings continue to run as normal.

"I can reassure MPs that nothing in Interserve's refinancing will affect the delivery of public services, no staff have lost their jobs, no pensions have been affected."

READ MORE: What next for Hull's £12m Castle Street bridge as Interserve collapses?

 Labour shadow Cabinet Office minister Christian Matheson suggested that the refinancing of Interserve is "remarkably similar" to the collapse of Carillion and as he begged the question of which company will fold next.

Work has already started on the new £12m footbridge in Castle Street (Image: HullLive)

Mr Matheson referred to the "car crash in slow motion" of Interserve, saying how the Cabinet Office had flagged the company up with a "red rating" after profit warnings.

"Despite this, Interserve continued to receive public sector contracts worth hundreds of millions including from central government," he said. "A situation remarkably similar to Carillion just over a year ago."

READ MORE: Interserve latest news as boss issues administration warning for company

 Querying the checks and balances in place, Mr Matheson said the company had been "hoovering up contracts willy-nilly, regardless of expertise... and ministers have allowed this to happen based on a false economy".

He added: "Can the minister confirm the Government is looking at all major suppliers to ensure their finances and ability to deliver contracts are watertight, because after Carillion and now Interserve the public is entitled to ask who's next?"

Mr Dowden said the Labour MP was "rather overstating the case" and "of course those checks were performed".

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