Pre-tax profit at outsourcing company Interserve fell by a third in the first six months of the year, from £40m to £27.3m

The firm attributed the fall to weaker demand for construction and equipment services. Turnover was broadly flat at £944.5m, UK construction revenue fell by 6.3% to £380m and its forward order book stood at £5.7bn.

The firm said it was confident that in the medium term the government’s clampdown in spending would lead to more opportunities for the outsourcing of public services.