ASSURANCES have been given that the financial crisis engulfing construction group Kier, will not affect Heart of Wales Property Services (HOWPS).

HOWPS is a joint venture between Powys County Council (PCC) and Kier that looks after 5,400 homes and 630 other properties in the county.

The joint venture started in July 2017 after 109 workers were transferred to the company by TUPE.

On Monday, June 17, it was announced that Kier Group is to cut 1,200 jobs in the UK, suspend dividend payments and sell its housebuilding and property businesses as it battles to reduce its debt.

Shares in the troubled construction and services company fell to a new low of 114.9p on Monday, and its mounting problems are being compared with Carillion, a former rival that collapsed in January 2018.

Questions have been asked about what this mean for PCC and HOWPS.

Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan (Glantwymyn) has asked the council for clarity.

Cllr Vaughan said: “I have voiced concerns about Kier in previous council meetings.

“The further recent profits warning and today’s announcement of major job losses and selling of divisions further heightens and confirms my worst fears.

“Can I suggest therefore that a statement is sent out to members today confirming the position and perhaps a update at full council.”

A spokeswoman for Kier, said: “To confirm, HOWPS joint venture is not affected by the announcement today.”

PCC corporate director, economy and environment, Nigel Brinn, who is also a member of HOWPS’ Board said: “The county council has been kept fully informed of Kier’s financial trading update.

“We have received assurances that there will be no impact on the operation of the joint venture company with the county council – Heart of Wales Property Services.”