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Connaught job losses rise to 1,100

The number of redundancies at collapsed social housing firm Connaught has risen to 1,100 - but a new deal with a rival company could offer hope to nearly half of its former employees.

Administrator KPMG, which was brought in last week, said eight Connaught contracts will be transferred to Mears, a social housing repairs provider, and it was "hopeful" that some of the 600 redundant staff who worked on the contracts would be re-employed.

But the administrators also revealed 400 extra redundancies at the same time, following an initial 700 redundancies announced on Friday.

KPMG was brought in as administrator for Connaught's main company as well as subsidiaries Connaught Partnerships and Connaught Technical Solutions and initally said 4,200 jobs were at risk.

Construction group Morgan Sindall announced a deal on Friday to take on the majority of contracts at Connaught Partnerships, the social housing arm, saving 2,500 jobs.

Morgan Sindall's affordable housing division, Lovell Partnerships, said it had taken on the bulk of Connaught Partnerships' contracts in a £28 million deal.

Mears, based in Gloucester, would not confirm how much it had paid for the Connaught contracts, but it is thought to be a nominal fee.

Founded in 1988, Mears employs 8,000 people and provides maintenance and repairs services to 500,000 homes nationwide.

The administrators said they were also in urgent negotiations on two contracts with Norwich City Council. Connaught had won a £125 million five-year contract with the authority.

One of the contracts, which involves social housing services, is staffed by 300 Connaught Partnerships employees, who are all still facing the threat of redundancy.

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