The Construction Leadership Council has written to the prime minister setting out 'essential actions to secure the future of the sector'.
It called on Boris Johnson and his cabinet to:
- Suspend PAYE and CIS tax due to HMRC in April and May
- Defer/cancel Apprenticeship Levy payments
- Government to advise all public sector clients, regulated utilities, and firms in the private sector to expedite cash flow throughout the supply chain
- Support the directors of micro-businesses
- Direct all Government bodies to release retention monies
- Extend the £25k SME business continuity grants scheme to the construction sector.
In the letter, Andy Mitchell, co-chair of the Construction Leadership Council, highlighted that 'most construction businesses, from the largest public company to the smallest SME are highly dependent on free cashflow'.
'The construction industry also needs clear support and recognition from the Government for the essential work that it is doing, and the role it is playing in supporting public services and keeping the economy functioning,' he wrote.
'For understandable reasons, we are seeing the closure of key construction product and material manufacturers, in parallel with the closure of electrical, plumbing and general builders’ merchants, and there is the very real prospect of many of the essential works not being able to be done, or unduly delayed, by difficulties in securing products and materials.
'I ask therefore that you and your Ministers give very clear and visible encouragement that the production of building materials continues, if at all possible, and that electrical, plumbing and general builders’ merchants remain open so that essential maintenance and construction works can continue – and that the workers doing this are recognised, supported and appreciated.'
The council also noted that it had produced a COVID-19 essential worker authorisation letter – which sets out to provide construction employees with the evidence they require to be able to continue their essential work.
The move follows overzealous actions by the police, and actions by 'other public bodies and the wider public that are not in accordance with Government guidance'.