Industry

21 APR 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: 21 APRIL 2020

Introduction

This short briefing has been prepared on behalf of the UK construction sector to brief companies and individuals on the ongoing repercussions of the Covid-19 crisis for our sector.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

The UK government has published a step-by-step guide to the use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which opened yesterday (Monday). The guide can be found here.

Wales

The Welsh government announced online training courses for furloughed workers to be delivered partly in conjunction with Open University on their Working Wales website. 

Scotland

The Scottish government announced a second package of business support including: 

  • £120m to extend the Small Business Grant scheme to ensure that, in addition to a 100% grant on the first property, small business ratepayers will be eligible to a 75% grant on all subsequent properties;
  • A further £100m fund is also being made available to protect self-employed people and viable micro and SME businesses in distress due to COVID. 

This fund will be channelled through local authorities and enterprise agencies to target newly self-employed people and businesses who are ineligible for other Scottish government or UK government schemes.  

Applications for the £100m fund will be open by the end of the month and the new arrangements for the Small Business Grant will be in place to receive applications on 5 May.

Bonds

An issue has emerged in relation to the availability of bonds needed by contractors to provide security in the event of non-performance. There are suggestions that the current crisis may be making it harder for contractors to secure bonding facilities. If you have experienced any such concerns recently, please contact CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner (alasdairreisner@ceca.co.uk), who is carrying out research on the issue.

Navigating Covid-19: New Episode On Bank Loans & Finance

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has shared details of new episodes in its webinar series, Navigating COVID-19. Presented by ACE chief executive Hannah Vickers, these are open to anyone in the industry to attend. Check ACE’s website regularly for updates, new guest and episode announcements, and click on the following links to book your place on each individual webinar.

Maximising motivation while in lockdown (Wednesday 22 April, 12.00pm)

Performance psychologist Dr Andrew Dewar of WSP and Georgia Hughes of Arcadis and chair of ACE’s Emerging Professionals join us to discuss how you can make the most of your time whilst working at home. They’ll share practical tips and advice to help boost productivity which will apply to any role and at any level.

Business Loans and finance (Wednesday 29 April 2020, 12.00pm)

ACE Advisory Board member, former banker, and special advisor to the chancellor Alistair Darling, Geoffrey Spence joins Hannah Vickers to discuss the new financial support made available to businesses, as well as some traditional finance options.

Improving cashflow through tax credits (Wednesday 6 May, 12.00pm)

Mark Smith, Innovation Incentives Partner of ACE affiliate Ayming joins us to discuss how R&D tax credits can release the hidden cash trapped in your working capital, helping your business through the weeks and months ahead.

What does recovery look like? (Tuesday 12 May, 12.00pm)

Andy Mitchell, chief executive of Tideway and chair of the Construction Leadership Council and Alasdair Reisner, chief executive of CECA, join Hannah Vickers to discuss what a future recovery looks like for our industry, Government and society.

Industry feedback: government support

The Construction Industry Coronavirus Task Force has prepared a short survey to anonymously capture feedback on use and experiences of business trying to access support provided by HMG. Please take two minutes to fill out here.

Industry feedback: employment

As part of our work to respond to the current crisis, we are keen to understand the latest information on levels of activity and employment in the industry. To support this work, please can you take 2 minutes to fill out the following survey.

The briefing has been prepared in collaboration between the industry’s leading trade and representative bodies: Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Builders Merchant Federation, Build UK, Chartered Institute of Building, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Industry Council, Construction Plant-hire Association, Construction Products Association, Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), Federation of Master Builders, National Federation of Builders, and Institution of Civil Engineers. 

We are grateful to Building, Construction Enquirer, Construction Manager, Construction News, Highways, Infrastructure Intelligence, and New Civil Engineer for support in distribution to the wider industry.

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