Builders and engineers responsible for the luxury developments that turned Dubai into a desert boom town have called on the British government to help them recover hundreds of millions of pounds in unpaid debts.

The Association for Consulting and Engineering said some members have been offered just 65 cents on the dollar on unpaid fees by the emirate’s best-known developer, Nakheel.

Nakheel, which built palmshaped islands in the Gulf and has plans for the world’s first kilometre-high tower, is dealing with a debt crisis caused by the collapse in the property market following the credit crunch.

After a visit to Dubai, ACE’s chief executive, Nelson Ogunshakin, described the situation as “chaos”. He has written to Lord Mandelson, the business secretary, to ask for political intervention.

Daily Telegraph