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Kier, Carillion, Interserve and Lend Lease fight for Welsh prison

More than 250 SMEs are bidding to four major contractors to secure work on the construction of a £250m new prison in north Wales.

Kier, Carillion, Lend Lease and Interserve are in the running for the contract, which will be awarded in the spring. 

The four companies spent two days this week interviewing SMEs from north Wales, Cheshire and Shropshire.

The facility is set to hold 2,000 inmates, which will make it Britain’s largest prison. It will be built at the former Firestone Factory in Wrexham and it is expected to be fully operational by 2017.

Prisons minister Jeremy Wright and the secretary of state for Wales David Jones attended an event to meet contractors and businesses on 15 January.

Mr Jones said he was happy to see many local businesses interested in providing services to help construct the prison.

“This new prison will be a huge boost for the regional economy, with the creation of up to 1,000 jobs and an estimated £23m per year for the area,” he said.

HMP Oakwood, which opened in 2012 and was the last prison to be built in the UK, saw 113 SMEs employed to provide £30m-worth of construction on the West Midlands site.

Mr Wright said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country and a real necessity for building a resilient, sustainable economy. That is why we are so keen to encourage contractors to use them in this major construction process.”

Wrexham County Borough council leader Neil Rogers said: “We are very keen to ensure local companies benefit from the construction of the prison and this event is an excellent opportunity for them to meet and present their products and services to the prime contractors who are bidding to construct the prison.”

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