The leader of Burton's chamber of commerce has said that construction giant's Carillion liquidation has sparked a "period of great uncertainty".
The UK's second largest construction firm went into compulsory liquidation on Monday, January 15, sparking fears over thousands of jobs and potential lost contracts and wages.
Carillion, based in Wolverhampton, plunged into liquidation with debts of £1.5 billion and a £587 pension shortfall.
The construction giant employs 19,500 people in the UK and 43,000 worldwide - along with more than 100 at its rail maintenance hub in Derby.
Meanwhile, the A50 growth corridor works through Uttoxeter, being managed by Carillion and Tarmac on behalf of Staffordshire County Council and Highways England, will not be affected by the construction company's collapse due to solid "contingency plans".
However, it is feared that many of the contractors paired up with Carillion could fall prey due to its demise, with lost funds from contracts - even though many have already completed the work for the Wolverhampton firm.
Carillion employed around 7,000 sub-contractors to carry out various services for its projects, such as engineering, landscaping and design work, with firms dotted throughout Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire. It also had £952 million worth of contracts with smaller suppliers in 2016.
Burton and District Chamber of Commerce president Simon Chapman told the Burton Mail that the loss of skills and the disruption of projects across Burton is "highly regrettable".
He also said that some sub-contractors, including those in Burton, may not recover from the "financial shockwave".
Mr Chapman said: "As Carillion relied upon its supply chain of smaller contracting companies there are [likely to be] many local firms which are going to be directly impacted by the failure of the large construction company.
"These sub-contractors will be looking to the Government for reassurance that the projects will continue, their contracts are secure and that their workers won’t suffer as a result of the collapse.
"However the situation is moving quickly and while ever the government shows its reluctance to bail out contractors working on private projects, the tremors of uncertainty are felt in our wider business community.
"As commentators have already stated, Carillion’s sub-contractors will bear the loss of the company and some will suffer a financial shockwave from which they may not recover.
"The loss of skills and the disruption to projects across Burton and district is highly regrettable."
Chamber divisional director Chris Plant said the liquidation of Carillion has also plunged employees, contractors and business into a period of "great uncertainty".
He has urged those affected to get in touch with the chamber for help and support.
Mr Plant said: "The liquidation of Carillion is terrible news and brings with it a period of great uncertainty.
"This will be a difficult time for employees, contractors and businesses that worked with Carillion.
"The Chambers of Commerce is committed to supporting those affected, working alongside Chambers throughout the Midlands region and beyond.
"The Chambers of Commerce provide training in procurement, contracting and negotiations that will support businesses coming to terms with this situation.
"We are encouraging any businesses or individuals in Staffordshire affected by Carillion and wishing to access business support to call the Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub business helpline on 0300 111 8002.
"The Black County Chamber of Commerce have established a dedicated helpline for those affected by the crisis on 01902 912322 or email email@example.com"
Burton and Uttoxeter's Tory MP, Andrew Griffiths, who was this month appointed Small Business Minister, said that taking to his role had been like a "baptism of fire" and a "steep learning curve" having to tackle the Carillion fall-out so quickly after being promoted.
He said that small business owners are understandably angry at the situation, and said that the world of business and large Government contracts, small businesses are often lost in the overly complicated processes.
Mr Griffiths also said that keeping up with 120-day payment delays, such as with Carillion, can be "hugely difficult" for small businesses, who could often struggle to handle that cashflow.
He told Radio Derby: "It’s been a steep learning curve, a baptism of fire as a business minister.
"I understand why they’re angry - small business owners - they’ve done nothing wrong, and what we need to do as a Government is to work out how we can support those small businesses and get them through this difficult time.
"The number one priority is to deal with the immediate outcomes of the going forward, we’ve got to learn from this.
"Payment terms of 120 days, which is what Corillian was paying some of its workers it seems, make it hugely difficult for small businesses to manage their cashflow.
"So particularly where we've got Government contracts, we need to make sure that those kind of practices aren't happening.
"In relation to the building sector in particular, it is really complicated and that makes it very difficult for small businesses in places like Burton and Derby to be able to bid for those contracts, get that work and offer really good value for money for the Government.
"As part of the fallout, we are going to look at exactly what we can do as a Government to make sure that small businesses are being treated fairly."
Mr Griffiths told the Burton Mail that the priority is to "ensure that vital public services provided by Carillion are maintained, and to support and assist those contractors and businesses who were suppliers to Carillion".
He said: "The Government’s priorities have been to ensure that vital public services provided by Carillion are maintained, and to support and assist those contractors and businesses who were suppliers to Carillion.
"Along with the Secretary of State for Business, Greg Clark, I have met with the banks to ensure they are assisting those affected, and both they and HMRC are offering help with payment holidays and time to pay.
"We are working with the official receiver to see how best to transfer those contracts to new suppliers, and have set up a taskforce, which includes representatives from the construction industry and the trade unions, in order to work together to do this in the best way possible."
Paul Walker is the chairman of Burton's RMT branch - the rail, maritime and transport union, which acts on behalf of workers.
He, along with the chairmen of the other branches in the national union, are calling for rail contracts to be taken back in house by the Government in order to protect jobs and services.
Mr Walker claims "there must be no attempt from the Government to hide from the seriousness of this situation" and that there must be no expense spared for struggling workers impacted by Carillion's combustion.
He told the Burton Mail: "We are calling on the Government to bring all rail contracts operated by Carillion back in house.
"This would be an easy step in ensuring that jobs and services are protected.
"It's clear that rail workers at Carillion provide a service to the public so we do not want to see any discrepancy over this issue."