NORTH Wales is set for a multi-million pound boost after Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright announced who will build a 2,100 inmate jail on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Mr Wright revealed on Friday that a £151 million contract to build the ‘super-prison’ had been awarded to Lend Lease, an international leader in property and infrastructure, who originate from Australia.
The £151m (plus VAT) construction contract ensures that, with other expenses, the overall project spend is set to be around £212m – substantially under the original £250m estimate.
The proposals include approximately £50m to be spent with small and medium enterprises (SMEs), £30m to be spent with local businesses and 50 per cent of the entire workforce to be recruited from the local area, including around 100 apprenticeships.
Lend Lease has also proposed to offer practical help to local schools and dedicate time to meeting local needs with a Community Engagement Manager employed. The MoJ said the number of construction workers was a matter for Lend Lease, but added around 600-700 workers were likely to be employed on the former-Firestone site during the construction phase.
Mr Wright said: “We knew that a new prison in Wales was going to be a massive boost to the Welsh economy, and I’m delighted that local people are going to benefit from it.
“This contract will ensure that millions of pounds are spent with SMEs, with significant levels of work for local businesses and young people – a key part of this Government’s long-term plan to build a stronger economy.
“This first prison for North Wales will be a significant boost to the prison estate, helping ensure taxpayers are given the best possible value while holding offenders closer to home to help prevent reoffending.”
The prison is estimated to create approximately 1,000 jobs when operational and boost the regional economy by bringing in around £23m per year. The Ministry of Justice has particularly encouraged the use of SMEs and regional businesses during the tendering process, with a special local supplier event to help companies show the potential contractors the services they can offer.
Mr Wright said: “I can safely say that this is good news for the local area and
we are confident that businesses in and around Wrexham will gain a significant amount from the £30 million boost in North Wales from the prison build.
“A significant amount is to be spent in Wrexham and the creation of 1,000 jobs, many of which will go to local people, is excellent news.
“We were delighted by the turnout at our ‘speed dating’ sessions earlier in the year, when we asked businesses to come and pitch to us. What we found was there is a localised workforce in Wrexham, who are keen to be engaged with the building of the prison.
“This contract will ensure that millions of pounds are spent with SMEs and this first prison for North Wales will be a significant boost to the prison estate, helping ensure taxpayers are given the best possible value while holding offenders closer to home to help prevent reoffending.”
Aled Roberts, AM for North Wales, said: “It was imperative that the prison also provided an economic benefit for the whole region.
“I am very pleased, therefore, that £30m will be spent with local businesses, half of the entire workforce will be recruited from the area and 100 apprenticeships will be created locally.
“This will provide a much needed boost to the community here in North Wales.
“Our region needs a prison as it’s simply not right that families from North Wales have had to travel such long distances to visit family members.
“The emotional and financial strain put on these families is simply unacceptable.”
Secretary of State for Wales David Jones said: “The new prison in Wrexham will bring a huge boost to the regional economy in north Wales.
“During the local supplier event in January we saw the high quality products and services on offer from local businesses vying to be a part of this important development.
“I was delighted to see so many companies expressing such a strong interest in playing their part in the construction of the prison.
“It was a clear demonstration that Wales has some of the very best suppliers in the UK and I look forward to seeing them benefiting directly from today’s significant announcement.”
The MoJ confirmed work on the site had already begun on the site, which should be fully operational by late 2017.