Unite renews calls for Carillion criminal investigation after £400m bill for new hospital

Unite has renewed its calls for an immediate criminal investigation into Carillion following the news an NHS Trust faces a £400m bill  million to complete the building of the unfinished Midland Metropolitan hospital.

In papers prepared for Tuesday’s board meeting of the Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, chief executive Tony Lewis admitted it will cost £400m to complete the new hospital and keep the existing City hospital open until it is finished in 2022.

The Midland Metropolitan hospital was set to have been completed this year but due to initial delays and the fact that the site has substantially deteriorated since work ceased when Carillion collapsed, there will be over a three year delay in the project.

The original budget for the project was £350 million of which Carillion had already received £205 million before its collapse. The £400 million bill faced by the trust, and ultimately paid for by the taxpayer, is to complete the hospital and also the cost of the work to reopen wards at City hospital which were due to be demolished.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “These figures are truly staggering. It is outrageous that the taxpayer is going to have to pay more to get the project completed than the entire original budget.

“In September Unite called for an immediate criminal investigation into the directors and senior managers responsible for Carillion’s collapse and I am renewing that call, as the cost of the company’s recklessness continues to spiral.”

Unite regional officer Su Lowe said: “Carillion’s directors distorted their accounts and continued to trade when the company was insolvent. Taxpayers are being forced to pay tens if not hundreds of millions to clear up the mess, if that is not criminal behaviour, it certainly should be.

“In a desperate bid to keep treating patients the trust is being forced to reopen wards which have been closed and were due to become houses. This in itself is spending millions of pounds on what is at best a short term fix.”

Last month Unite wrote to Lewis seeking assurances that measures would be put in place to ensure that when work does restart on the hospital construction workers are not exploited.

Unite is asking that: industrial agreement governing pay and conditions are adhered to, local labour and suppliers are used, workers are directly employed, exploitative forms of employment such as umbrella companies are outlawed and trade unions are both recognised and given full access to the site.

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