More Connaught jobs likely to be secured

MORE jobs at collapsed social housing maintenance firm Connaught are likely to be rescued under a deal with its administrators.

Gloucester-based social housing repairs provider Mears said yesterday that it planned to take on eight of Connaught’s contracts and was in talks with the administrators, from accountancy firm KPMG, to save around 1,000 jobs.

On Friday, Morgan Sindall agreed to take on the majority of the contracts of Connaught Partnerships, the group’s social housing arm, in a move saving 2,500 jobs, although KPMG also announced 700 redundancies.

Nither Morgan Sindall nor KPMG has revealed the location of the contracts involved in the transfer.

However, it is understood that the deal does include work being carried out by Connaught for Ipswich Borough Council to upgrade the kitchens and bathrooms of council homes in the borough.

The council, which is also thought to have the option to appoint its own sub-contractors to finish the work, is now understood to be engaged in talks with Lovell, which already operates extensively in East Anglia.

It is still unclear whether the agreement between the administrators and Mears, which is thought to leave only five of around 280 Connaught contracts in doubt, will involve the re-employment of any of the 700 workers made redundant

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Connaught was thrown into turmoil after warning in June that Government spending cuts could blow a �200million hole in revenues over this year and next.

Talks between the group and its lenders, led by taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland, and other potential financiers failued to secure further financing, resulting the the appointment of administrators last week at Connaught plc and the Connaught Partnerships and Connaught Technical Solutions subsidiaries.

However, two of its other operating companies, Connaught Compliance and Connaught Environment, which employ 1,800 and 2,700 people respectively, are not in administration and are continuing to trade as normal.

Connaught Compliance includes the former Igrox pest control business, based at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, which the group acquired last year.