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pic: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Friday 9th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

Inquiry ‘must wait’ until he receivers report in six months’ time

A PUBLIC inquiry into the collapse of City Link could happen, Business Secretary Vince Cable said yesterday — but not until receivers report back in six months’ time.

Mr Cable came under pressure from Labour to promise a inquiry into the “stinking” collapse of the parcel giant at a parliamentary question session.

The firm announced that 1,356 staff would lose their jobs on New Year’s Eve — and 300 remaining staff will be laid off this week.

In the Commons yesterday, shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna insisted that bosses had many questions to answer.

“Do you agree with me that to hear your job has been at risk of redundancy not from your employer but while watching the TV news with your family on Christmas Day, as was the case with the City Link workers, is an utterly appalling way to be treated?” he asked Mr Cable.

Mr Umunna was joined by other opposition MPs in calling for a commitment to a “proper and full” investigation.

He pressed the minister: “Why, for example, if the firm was technically insolvent on December 22, as has been reported, were they planning to trade until the 26th? Is it true that contractors were told rumours of it going into administration were false? Why was a new subsidiary set up on December 9?”

Mr Umunna compared the collapse with that of Comet, into which the government authorised an inquiry.

In response, Mr Cable said that Comet had merited an investigation due to “serious misconduct in the behaviour of directors,” which he said “may or may not be the case” with City Link.

The Business Secretary said his department “may well want to initiate the kind of investigation you described,” but refused to authorise such an inquiry until administrators had reported back.

“Once again this is too little, too late from Vince Cable,” said transport union RMT general secretary Mick Cash.

“The government need to act now to find out what was going on in the run-up to the City Link collapse and they need to move to stop other speculators from hanging their workforce out to dry in this callous way.”