* indicates required

Grants needed to bring construction back from the brink

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).

* More than half (60 per cent) of builders have already ceased between 76 per cent and 100 per cent of their work;

* Of those, 80 per cent are in the domestic repair, renovation and maintenance sector.

* Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of builders believe that the Government is not doing enough to support them;

* 80 per cent 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.

It’s paramount that the Government steps up its support for small construction firms, as we risk seeing a crash similar to that experienced during the financial crisis of 2008-09 when just under half a million workers left the industry, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) in response to the construction PMI data published today. This data showed that construction activity in March fell at the fastest rate since April 2009.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), said: “In just the first month of this outbreak, construction output has fallen at the fastest rate since the financial crisis a decade ago. It reflects what we have been hearing from our members, 60 per cent of whom have had to stop the majority of their work, to protect their workforce and their clients during the coronavirus outbreak.”

“While Government advice remains to keep sites open, for many firms this is unfeasible and unsafe. Most domestic sites are closed, and even our house building members are struggling to keep going as materials are in short supply. This is having a big financial impact on the sector, particularly on small and medium-sized firms who make up the vast majority of the industry.

“Cash grants not linked to business rates – almost 90 per cent of small builders don’t operate from an office – are needed now to bring SME construction back from the brink. The FMB stands ready to work with the Government to develop this support stream. The loan scheme isn’t working for our members, and delays to bring other cash support online could prove terminal to hardworking building firms up and down the country.”

Companies mentioned in this article

More property articles: