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Connaught banks on Decent Homes

SOCIAL housing contractor Connaught is forecasting further rewards from the Government's Decent Homes programme as it gears up to bid for big schemes in the Midlands and London.

Much of the Decent Homes workload has taken place in northern England with the Midlands and the London boroughs struggling to match the pace set by local authorities in Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne.

But Connaught chief executive Mark Tincknell said it is bidding for £2.1 billionworth of work in the next 12 months and he expects more of it to be further south.

He added: 'There's a lot of work to do in the inner cities and the London boroughs have got a huge amount to do.'

Operating margins from its Decent Homes work stand at 5 per cent and the initiative helped push pre-tax profits in the six months to February up 68 per cent to £3.6 million.Turnover was up 8 per cent to £113.5 million.

The Government wants Decent Homes to be wrapped up by 2010 but it is widely expected to last until 2015 at least.