Construction sites must be kept open

Construction sites must be kept open

ARTICLE · By Timber Trade Federation · 19 March 2020

On building sites there have not yet been reports of widespread site shutdowns. At the Timber Trade Federation we are closely monitoring the situation, and are calling for the Government to issue sector specific advice.

What happens on construction sites around the country ultimately fuels demand for timber products. Unlike many other forms of work, there are no options to work from home. Of course precautions should be taken.

Advice for workers to self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough, or a high temperature, stands for construction as with any other industry. Washing hands to prevent spread is also essential. However, it is not necessary to close sites unless government policy changes.

Already the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), with the support of the Construction Products Association (CPA) and Build UK have written to the Prime Minister to affirm that it is vital that construction sites remain open.

In summary, we request that the Government: 

  • Ensures all construction sites across the UK are able to remain open, as long as they are able to do so responsibly.
  • Instructs all public sector construction clients to continue to pay their contractors and supply chain.
  • Consider implementing financial measures, such as the deferral of VAT & PAYE payments, that will reduce the burden on business and keep cash moving as long as possible.

 

The Government has taken steps in recent days to support businesses across the UK. However, what we now need is sector specific advice for construction to ensure that disruption is minimised.

Given the large number of workers in construction who are self-employed, around 40%, and 210,000 SME’s in the sector, it is essential that work keeps moving. At the Timber Trade Federation we are supporting the CPA and CLC.

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