Andy Mitchell, the chair of the Construction Leadership Council has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson with an outline plan of support for the industry to help it through the coronavirus crisis.
The council's members, which includes the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), highlighted moves that needed to be made to help businesses improve their cash-flow in the immediate and short term. This included:
- Suspending PAYE and CIS tax due to HMRC in April and May for construction and consultancy firms and workers, with no financial penalty.
- Deferring/cancelling Apprenticeship Levy payments for the duration of the crisis.
- Government advising all public sector clients, regulated utilities, and firms in the private sector to expedite cash flow throughout the supply chain.
- Supporting the directors of micro-businesses, who currently fall between the support provided by the Job Retention Scheme and assistance for the self-employed.
- Directing all Government bodies to release all retention monies. These are currently estimated to total £4.5 billion across the supply chain
- Extend the £25,000 SME business continuity grants scheme to the construction sector.
Andy Mitchell, chair of the CLC said: “We are calling on the government to take these steps not only to save jobs and companies in the long term, but to ensure our sector can continue to function throughout the weeks and months to come.
“The UK government’s response to this crisis has been bold and necessary. It is time now for it to roll out emergency measures to protect UK construction directly, which is a sector of national strategic importance in good times as well as bad.”
Yesterday, the business secretary Alok Sharma shared an open letter thanking the construction industry for its sterling efforts in supporting the national effort in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.