After Carillion, Interserve shares hit by report that United Kingdom is monitoring firm

The British government needs to allow more time for firms to take on workers whose jobs are threatened by the collapse of outsourcer Carillion, the head of one of Britain's biggest trade unions said on Wednesday.

Shares in Interserve have plunged following reports that the outsourcing giant has been placed under uk Government watch amid fears for its financial health following the collapse of Carillion.

Now Lloyds Banking Group (LBG) has announced a £50m package of support to its small business customers, as part of a range of emergency measures for those businesses within Carillion's supply chain which are now in financial difficulty.

Interserve, like the Government, sought to distance itself from the collapse of Carillion.

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A spokesperson for the the Cabinet Office said the government doesn't believe any suppliers are in a comparable position to Carillion and it monitors the financial health of all of its contractors, including Interserve.

Lloyds said small business customers in Carillion's supply chain will be able to apply to have fees on overdrafts and invoice finance facilities waived or for capital repayment holidays on existing loans.

Interserve issued a profit warning in September, saying it was set to make huge losses on an energy-from-waste contract in Scotland.

Earlier in the week, in response to Carillion's liquidation, an Interserve spokesman said the company "has very limited direct exposure to Carillion as a customer or partner" but that it continued "to monitor the situation closely".

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However, shares later recovered nearly all of their losses to close only 0.4% down - after the Cabinet Office released a statement.

The Group's support will also include guidance on working capital requirements to help firms unlock cash so they can manage their way through the difficulties they now face.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett said: "The Government awarded Interserve numerous contracts after significant profit warnings, clearly showing us that Carillion was not an isolated case".

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  • Kelly Blake