The saga of Carillion's collapse continued this month, as it transpired that accountancy giants EY had prepared plans to restructure the troubled construction firm as early as mid-December 2017.
The plans involved breaking up Carillion to sell the profitable parts of the business, which it was estimated would have generated £364 million. The non-profitable parts of the company would have been placed into liquidation under the plans. The proposal suggested that this would also have generated £218 million to be distributed to the firm's 13 pension schemes, which currently have a deficit of around £1 billion.
The directors of Carillion rejected EY's proposal, however, and the Cabinet Office - which was also in the loop - has suffered heavy criticism for apparently failing to apply sufficient pressure on the directors to accept it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course - but given that the government was clearly aware of Carillion's precarious situation, it does raise questions about their approach when the stakes were so high.
Ashfords' Take: As developments are revealed, concerns about apparent government failures government failures continue to grow.