COUNCIL tenants waiting for home repairs have been left in the lurch as maintenance contractor Connaught called in the administrators.

The social housing services company, which has contracts with several Essex housing associations, was yesterday put into administration after lenders refused to provide any more cash.

The Devon-based repair and maintenance specialist, which announced a suspension of trading in its shares, has been in turmoil since June when it warned Government spending cuts could blow a £200million hole in revenues.

In a statement yesterday it said talks to secure further funding had failed.

The company, which employs 10,000 staff nationwide, carries out maintenance for South Essex Homes in Southend, St Georges Community Housing in Basildon and Rochford Housing Association.

Improvement program-mes to bring hundreds of homes up to the Government’s decent homes standard were stalled as workers downed tools.

Audrey Linzell is one of those left with work half finished. The 85-year-old widow, from Westcliff, was astonished when workmen who were replacing her central heating system walked out of her home with the job unfinished.

She said: “They took all my radiators off and put in a new tank but they only put two radiators back.

“They said they couldn’t carry on until there was a resolution.

“I don’t know what’s going on. They’ve left such a mess.”

As yet, it is unknown how councils and housing associations will deal with the work left over.