Business roundup

Amey has been selected to deliver a £235M contract to provide environmental and infrastructure services for Trafford Council. The contract will run for 15 years, with a potential extension of eight years, and the firm is charged with delivering major savings for the council through innovative service delivery, including £2.25M million in 2015/16. Mel Ewell, Amey’s Chief Executive, said: “Trafford Council is taking a pioneering approach to the way services are provided and we are delighted to be working with them on this contract. Combining services allows us to support Trafford Council with efficiency savings whilst ensuring a high quality service is delivered to local residents.”

Wates has reached a preliminary agreement to buy Shepherd Engineering Services, and Shepherd FM. It will also acquire a significant number of contracts and frameworks from Shepherd Construction, which last year had losses of £8.2M on £240M turnover.

In a survey of 1,211 IoD members conducted immediately after the general election, an overwhelming majority (85%) supported plans to run a budget surplus by the end of the parliament. Business leaders think deficit reduction should be achieved primarily through spending cuts rather than tax rises. Over half of IoD members strongly oppose increases in National Insurance, Income Tax, VAT and business rates. Infrastructure and education are ranked as the top issues for businesses who want the government to make them an “immediate priority”, with over half strongly opposed to spending cuts in these areas. Improving the UK’s broadband capability is the most urgent infrastructure project, with 56% prioritising government investment in high-speed internet. More than half of IoD members (55%) also want the government to invest in energy generation and there was strong support for spending on railways (50%), roads (44%) and airports (34%) over the next five years.

Chancellor George Osborne has said that he will deliver a new Budget on 8 July.

University of Manchester has announced the appointment of Balfour Beatty, Laing O’Rourke and Sir Robert McAlpine to deliver the bulk of its £1bn capital programme through a partnership framework agreement. The University of Manchester’s Campus Masterplan is the largest capital programme in the institution’s history and one of the largest currently underway in the higher education sector. The contractors will work on a number of major developments, including the flagship £350m Manchester Engineering Campus Development (MECD), which will bring together the University’s four Schools of Engineering in one location and also provide teaching and office space.

Completion of Kier’s takeover of Mouchel is scheduled for 8 June after the contractor successfully completed its £340m rights issue to help fund the £265M acquisition of the consultant.