Prison plans will boost construction jobs
Nine new prisons are to be built across England and Wales as part of a £3 billion project that is expected to lead to a host of new jobs in construction.
Estimates suggest that each of the new institutions could cost from £270 million to £320 million, meaning the total bill for the work could come in at £3 billion. Yet the reforms could eventually save the Treasury as much as £80 million each year, according to reports.
Replacing the old jails, many of which are found in now sought-after inner-city areas, will involve some 10,000 inmates being moved.
The Chancellor, George Osborne says the scheme has the potential not only to create land for much-needed housing, but also to bolster the number of jobs available for construction workers.
“We are going to reform the infrastructure of our prison system, building new institutions which are modern, suitable and rehabilitative,” he said.
“And we will close old, outdated prisons in city centres, and sell the sites to build thousands of much-needed new homes.
“This will save money, reform an outdated public service and create opportunity by boosting construction jobs and offering more people homes to buy.”
It is hoped that construction of at least five new prisons will be completed as early as 2020, with HM Prison Reading set to be among the first older jails sold. London HMP Pentonville, HMP Brixton and HMP Leeds are some of the other institutions that could be closed.
All of these jails were first opened in the early nineteenth century, with the oldest – HMP Brixton – dating back to 1820.