Only emergency and critical construction work should be allowed to continue and help extended to SME building firms and the self-employed in order to protect the health and livelihoods of the industry’s workforce, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).
New research conducted by the FMB has found that:
• More than half (60%) of builders have already ceased between 76% and 100% of their work;
• Of those, 80% are in the domestic repair, renovation and maintenance sector.
• Almost two-thirds (63%) of builders believe that the Government is not doing enough to support them;
• 80% of builders would apply for the £25,000 grant, currently only available to retail, leisure and hospitality firms, if it were made available to them;
• Of those 303 firms who said that they would apply, they employ a total of just under 2,000 people (1,956) and most commonly said that the grant would help them survive another two to three months.
Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “Most FMB members have already taken the lead and ceased the majority of their work. It is almost impossible to follow Public Health England’s social distancing advice on many sites, and it would therefore be safer to close them.
“However, the Government must ensure that these firms don’t face a cliff-edge while doing the right thing and should ensure that grants of £25,000 are made available and that ample support is extended to the self-employed who represent 37% of construction jobs.”
Berry added: “No one should have to choose between feeding their family and protecting their health and yet that is the position many builders currently find themselves in. There is a clear appetite for greater government support among builders, as demonstrated by the fact that 80% would apply if grants were available. Later today, the Chancellor must avoid any halfway house measures and ensure that he delivers equal support for the self-employed as those on PAYE. This package needs to cover the breadth of people who are self-employed not just a select few.”