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City Link

Volume 590: debated on Wednesday 14 January 2015

6. What discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on job losses in Scotland resulting from City Link entering administration. (906923)

It was deeply regrettable that City Link went into administration over the festive period, particularly for its employees and contractors. My right hon. Friend the Business Secretary spoke regularly with the unions to discuss the situation, and our focus now is on supporting those made redundant. The Department for Work and Pensions has been liaising with its counterparts in the Partnership Action for Continuing Employment service to ensure that support is available to those made redundant in Scotland.

Many people lost their jobs at City Link’s Eurocentral depot in my constituency. I have been struck by the fact that not only direct employees but many so-called self-employed subcontractors lost their jobs. In reality, the latter were solely employed by City Link and had worked there for decades. They have been left not just without redundancy payments but with tens of thousands of pounds of debt. What are the Government doing to ensure that bogus self-employment is tackled and that this never happens again?

As the hon. Lady will be aware, the administrators will provide a report to the Insolvency Service on what happened at City Link during the period immediately before the redundancies and administration were announced, and we will obviously reflect on that. I take on board her point about self-employed contractors, and I will raise that directly with DWP colleagues.

When I met workers from City Link this week, they told me they found out from the media on Christmas eve that their company was closing, and the redundancies were confirmed on Hogmanay. This is an appalling situation, and no worker should be treated in such a way. It is too late for those workers, but will the Minister ensure that his Government conduct a full and proper inquiry into the circumstances that led to the failure at City Link, so that workers can never be treated in that way again?

As the hon. Lady will have heard me say, the administrators will provide a report to the Insolvency Service. The Government have demonstrated, in their action over Comet, that if such a report highlights practices that should be investigated, they will be.