January 16, 2018 / 12:16 PM / a year ago

UK's Hammond says unaware of government credit risks from Carillion

Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond arrives in Downing Street in London, January 16, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Philip Hammond said on Tuesday he did not know of any government loans to failed construction and services group Carillion which went into liquidation this week.

“I am not aware of any direct exposure of HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) as a creditor of Carillion, but I will check,” Hammond said in parliament in response to a question from a lawmaker.

Hammond also reiterated his view that Britain’s public sector debt levels were too high as a result of the country’s response to the 2007-09 financial crisis, and they “urgently” needed to come down.

“If we had a similar crisis now, God forbid, we would be struggling to be able to do that because we already have a debt level that is very close to 90 percent of GDP,” he said.

“It is urgently necessary to get our debt level down to create the headroom to deal with any crisis that comes along in the future whether internal or external.”

Reporting by Andy Bruce; Writing by William Schomberg

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