Not too long ago, the Government claimed that things were getting better. Our economy was improving, and Brexit wasn’t going to be detrimental to us, but rather an opportunity.
Then the Carillion crisis happened.
Now granted, Carillion’s collapse is a sign of a much deeper problem which can’t be linked necessarily to Brexit, yet it is very frustrating for myself and many others to see such a cataphoric collapse considering the rhetoric coming out of the Government in recent years.
It’s instances like this that make the younger generation disillusioned and distrust the Government and mainstream politics, making Corbyn’s political policies more attractive. Young people and anyone, for that matter, can see we need something different, as the current system just isn’t working.
Thousands of people are going to lose their jobs due to the mismanagement of Carillion, and the Government’s handling of it is embarrassing at best. Britain’s largest trade union, Unite, warned that thousands of staff at Carillion’s estimated 30,000 supplier and subcontractor companies are also at risk as a result of unpaid invoices.
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The Government has a moral duty to provide direct financial assistance, as well as other support in order to ensure that subcontractors and suppliers don’t needlessly go to the wall, with thousands of workers potentially losing their jobs.”
This couldn’t be more true, the Government absolutely has an obligation to these workers, especially considering that the Government knew that Carillion was in a poor financial state and continued to award them contracts. Whatever happened to financial health checks and due diligence?
However, what is fundamentally worse to me is the exploitation of sub-contractors who in essence are the backbone of our economy. As a small business owner myself, Shout Out UK has been subcontracted a few times and thankfully there have been no major problems, but I’ve come across other businesses that haven’t been so lucky. Many large companies sub-contract almost all of the work they get from Government contracts for a small amount of money to small sub-contractors, while they pocket a large profit without doing much of the work.
To add insult to injury, larger companies will often pay the smaller suppliers late to ensure as much money is gained from the interest as possible, as was done with Carillion. During this period, the small subcontractor struggles and possibly goes bust due to late payments, as a small business has no real legal recourse when dealing with late payments from larger businesses.
These small businesses are the ones paying the most tax and often contributing widely to our society, not large multi-nationals, and yet they are the ones that will get squeezed when an explosion like Carillion happens.
Carillion has simply revealed what many of us have always known, that multi-nationals abuse the system, and our Government lets it happen. If a large company goes bust, like Carillion, small businesses and ordinary people get the short end of the stick. This is not a new narrative, it’s happened for decades; and people wonder why young people are disillusioned with the Government and want drastic change.
Corbyn and Labour offer the hope of that change. The next generation will not forget this crisis when they vote in the next General Election, after seeing the impact Carillion’s fall from grace has had on their friends and family. Carillion’s collapse has split the “outsourcing racket” within Government wide open, and Labour will no doubt be relentless as it continues to reject what Corbyn called the “dogma of privatisation”, something the young people of this country will be more than happy to rally behind.