News in Brief January 2018 Carillion collapse hits suppliers Thousands of Carillion’s suppliers are beginning to feel the impact of its collapse, with subcontractors that are owed money by the construction giant starting to lay off workers. Liquidator PwC said it would not pay any bills “for goods/services provided before the liquidation date”, and Carillion workers providing services to private sector firms also face having their wages stopped today unless another employer steps in. Leaders of the TUC, Unite and GMB unions have told Business Secretary Greg Clark that workers should not be left to "carry the can" for the collapse. Scotland’s Economy Secretary Keith Brown says disruption caused by Carillion's collapse would be minimised in Scotland, adding that while he was unable to give a "cast-iron guarantee" over jobs, there was a "good chance" employees would continue to work on existing projects. In addition, MPs say Carillion "wriggled out" of payments into its company pension schemes as its troubles grew, while it carried on paying shareholder dividends and bosses' bonuses. The schemes overall are in deficit, but last year contributions to the pension funds were deferred until 2019, to help shore up the firm's finances. The work and pensions select committee says a letter from the chairman of trustees of Carillion's DB Pension Scheme shows that pension trustees were "kept in the dark" about the state of Carillion's finances until late last year. Committee Chair Frank Field said the Pensions Regulator had questions to answer. Courts service spending rises tenfold since 2010 The annual cost of agency and contract staff for HM Courts and Tribunal Service rose to £50m last year, a more than ten-fold increase on 2010 when it spent less than £4m. The Guardian suggests the increase appears to be partly linked to a £1bn court modernisation programme. The figures were obtained by shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, who commented: “Given that the MoJ is facing the deepest budget cuts of any government department, spending tens of millions of pounds more on agency staff is a false economy and a reckless use of resources.” Joe Egan, president of the Law Society, added: "The government is spending a great deal of public money making the court estate fit for 21st century justice, but the absence of a strategy is all too evident. Every time a court is closed further pressure is placed on those courts, personnel and judiciary that remain." BBC ‘diverting attention from pay gap report’ Women at the BBC have accused the corporation of announcing cuts to male presenters' pay in order to divert attention from this week's gender pay report. Salary reductions for male employees including John Humphrys, Huw Edwards and Nick Robinson have been made public days before a report into on-air talent pay is expected to show a significant gap between male and female earnings. The corporation has also been accused of "silencing" gender discrimination and harassment victims through its use of non-disclosure agreements. Director general Tony Hall is to be questioned by MPs on claims that it is using public money to fund court confidential settlements.