NAO TO PROBE GREENSILL! – and how it collapsed the UK steel industry

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Steel workers marching to defend jobs – the collapse of Greensill pulls the rug from underneath them

THE NATIONAL Audit Office (NAO) has launched a probe into supply chain finance firm Greensill Capital following its collapse, which threatens to end the UK steel industry.

Last month, Greensill appointed Grant Thornton as its administrators, warning that it was in ‘severe financial distress’.
Now the NAO will investigate Greensill’s involvement in the government’s coronavirus loan schemes. It comes on top of at least three separate probes launched into the firm, including by the Treasury Select Committee.
The NAO said: ‘The British Business Bank (BBB), acting as scheme administrator on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, authorised lenders to provide financial support under the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme following an accreditation process.’
BBB authorised Greensill Capital to issue financial support in June 2020.
Greensill Capital filed for insolvency on 8th March 2021. The NAO said yesterday that its investigation ‘will cover Greensill Capital’s involvement in the government’s Covid-19 support schemes, including the accreditation process, and any post-accreditation monitoring of Greensill Capital’s activities’.
It comes amid a furore over David Cameron’s role as an adviser to the firm after allegations the former PM lobbied both the health secretary and Chancellor.
Cameron last year sent texts to Rishi Sunak in a bid to overturn a Treasury decision to deny Greensill Capital access to the government’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility (CCFF), which saw the Bank of England buy millions of pounds of bonds from investment grade firms.
In text messages released by the Treasury, Sunak told Cameron he would ‘push’ Treasury officials to look at Greensill’s application again. However, the firm was ultimately denied entry to the scheme and collapsed.
Meanwhile, living standards for workers are plunging.
Those working zero-hours contracts are twice as likely to get infected by Covid-19 and die. The TUC stated that they are also ten times less likely to receive sick pay.
By insecure workers, the TUC say that they are referring to ‘those on a contract that does not guarantee regular hours or income (including zero-hours contracts, agency work and casual work), or they are in low-paid self-employment (earning less than the government’s National Living Wage)’.
The TUC analysis shows that:

  • The Covid-19 male mortality rate in insecure occupations was 51 per 100,000 people aged 20-64, compared to 24 per 100,000 people in less insecure occupations.
  • The Covid-19 female mortality rate in insecure occupations was 25 per 100,000 people.

However yesterday the TUC, to its shame, allowed 500 British Gas engineers to be sacked after they refused to sign new contracts which will reportedly cut their pay by around 15 per cent.
The GMB union has condemned the ‘mass sackings’ of engineers but along with the TUC refused to call national action!