She called for an urgent task force, including employers and trade unions, to be set up to rescue Carillion's outsourcing contract and evaluate how the collapse of the company could impact on infrastructure projects, the public sector and the wider economy. Carillion is not expected to send a company representative.
Warning against a Government bailout, he said: "I think what has to happen in this case is the contracts have to be kept going, supporting the supply chain and the tens of thousands of workers, and that can be done by the Government taking a lot of this in-house or re-tendering".
The company is thought to require at least £210m in short-term funding to continue operating and implement a turnaround plan.
The Scottish government has said it is monitoring the situation at troubled construction firm Carillion, which is involved in several major infrastructure projects in Scotland.
Carillion's worsening health could put some of its 19,500 United Kingdom employees' jobs at risk.
Last month, Carillion said it received all necessary consents to defer the test date for both its financial covenants from December 31 to April 30, 2018, and that it was continuing constructive talks with stakeholders on options for cutting net debt and recapitalizing.
Sky News reported that the approach is part of a contingency plan by Carillion as talks continue with bankers.
"Without that commitment of support from the government, administration is all but inevitable", the source said.
Carillion now employs around 20,000 workers in the UK.
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To date, numerous banks have indicated that they are reluctant to provide additional funding given the potential for huge losses on their existing exposure.
Such a plan would leave its pension scheme, or the Pension Protection Fund, as a big shareholder.
Although the company has refused to name the trio of bungled contracts, problems with building the £350m Midland Metropolitan Hospital in Smethwick, expensive delays constructing the £335m Royal Liverpool Hospital and a £550m stretch of the Aberdeen bypass, top the list. It maintains 50,000 homes for the Ministry of Defence, manages almost 900 schools and is heavily involved in the highways and prisons.
The company has been pushed to the brink by cost overruns that forced it into a string of profit warnings previous year and left it on course to breach the terms of its bank loans.
Mr Howson was replaced on an interim basis by Keith Cochrane, the former Weir Group boss, with Andrew Davies due to arrive from Wates Group as his permanent successor on 22 January.
Carillion reported a first-half pre-tax loss of £1.15bn in September, while it announced just before Christmas that its lenders had agreed to defer a test of its borrowing agreements from 31 December to 30 April.
A Government spokesperson repeated a statement given to Sky News last weekend which said it was "committed to maintaining a healthy supplier market and work closely with our key suppliers".
"We remain supportive of their ongoing discussions with their stakeholders and await future updates on their progress".