Construction giant Carillion has gone into liquidation, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

The Comet: The Sugicentre on Stevenage's Lister Hospital site being built in 2010.The Sugicentre on Stevenage's Lister Hospital site being built in 2010. (Image: Archant)

The UK’s second biggest construction company – which employs 20,000 people in the UK – has collapsed after talks between the firm, its lenders and the Government failed to reach a deal to save it.

Carillion was responsible for building and helping to run the ill-fated Surgicentre on the site of Stevenage’s Lister Hospital.

The Surgicentre opened in 2011, but a five-year contract for Carillion and subsidiary Clinicenta to provide routine surgery at the site was cut short amid safety concerns.

The Surgicentre was bought by the Government in 2013 for in excess of £53 million after an inspection by health watchdog the Care Quality Commission found an effective health, safety and welfare system was not in place.

The East and North Herts NHS Trust – which runs Lister Hospital – took over the service, renaming it The Treatment Centre and taking a £2.3 million hit on its finances as a result of the takeover.

Carillion is involved in major projects such as the HS2 high-speed rail line, as well as public services such as prisons and hundreds of schools, and also provides maintenance services to Network Rail.

Herts County Council has confirmed it has no direct contracts with Carillion.

Carillion’s biggest problems are widely reported to have been cost overruns on three projects – the £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Sandwell, £335m Royal Liverpool Hospital and £745m Aberdeen bypass.

A court-appointed official receiver will now review Carillion’s business – a process which could take months.

Carillion chairman Philip Green said: “This is a very sad day for Carillion, for our colleagues, suppliers and customers that we have been proud to serve over many years.

“Over recent months huge efforts have been made to restructure Carillion to deliver its sustainable future.

“In recent days, however, we have been unable to secure the funding to support our business plan and it is therefore with the deepest regret that we have arrived at this decision.

“We understand HM Government will be providing the necessary funding required by the official receiver to maintain the public services carried on by Carillion staff, subcontractors and suppliers.”

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