Business secretary Alok Sharma has written an open letter addressed “to everyone working in the construction sector” to express his gratitude for the work being done.
“Thank you to everyone operating in the UK construction sector,” he writes. “You are making a hugely valued and critical contribution to our country.”
He continues: “During this difficult autumn, I want to pay tribute to you and express my admiration for all the work you are doing. Whether working on large or small construction sites, in peoples’ homes across the country, in builders’ merchants, designing and project managing schemes or producing construction and mineral products, you are making an invaluable contribution in supporting the economy.
“Since the outset of the pandemic in March, you have performed a vital role. In the past six months we have seen the industry build the Nightingale Hospitals, accelerate the delivery of infrastructure projects, support vital public services and help the country adapt buildings to become Covid-secure. Whilst doing this, the industry has itself had to innovate and adapt, changing the way it operates on sites, finding more efficient ways of delivering projects, and collaborating effectively throughout the supply chain.”
Those working in a self-employed capacity within the construction industry have been granted an extension on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, with two further grants, each available for three-month periods, covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.
It's not all been good news for the construction industry, of course. It is the view of at least one leading economist (Moustafa Ali, Economist at GlobalData) that UK construction output will see a contraction of up to 13.6% in 2020.
“The pandemic has had a varied impact across the construction sectors, with infrastructure and private housing works surpassing their pre-pandemic levels in September. Despite the strong rebound in Q3, employment in the sector has fallen sharply, with 142,000 jobs lost since Q4 2019. Employment in the sector is at its lowest level since 2013, according to the latest Labour Force Survey released by the ONS. Monthly output growth also slowed in September, with growth expanding by 2.9% following growth of 3.8% in August and a 17.4% expansion in July.
“Although economic conditions have significantly improved in Q3, a second wave of infections coupled with continued lockdown measures will constrain output growth in the sector in Q4.
“The government’s willingness to push ahead with infrastructure projects and the Bank of England’s stimulus measures will support the housing market, and the construction sector going into 2021.”
FASET is the established trade association and training body for the safety netting and temporary safety systems industry.
Its purpose is to offer a foundation of support for its members with expert guidance, dedicated working at height training and exclusive membership benefit schemes for all, with the intention of promoting a safer way of working.
In addition to assuring safer working in construction, we welcome all measures to protect workers’ jobs and the sustainability of the industry, especially during these uncertain times.