Building firms ‘risk going to the wall’ during lockdown

Non-essential construction sites were told to close in Scotland but steps are being taken in England to ease restrictions.

Construction companies “risk going to the wall” during lockdown unless the government steps in to help, a trade association has warned.

All non-essential sites in Scotland were told to close last month but steps are being taken south of the border to allow housebuilders to return to work.

Earlier this month, UK Government housing secretary Robert Jenrick welcomed developers reopening sites “following careful consideration of public-health guidance”.

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) has since said the majority of builders could struggle for survival if a solution is not found.

Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB, said: “Most builders cannot survive longer than two months in lockdown without greater financial support from the government.

“Master Builders recognise the need to stay home and save lives, but their businesses risk going to the wall if they cannot keep up with ongoing costs.

“That means, while construction sites are closed, the government must step up their support through grant funding and support for directors of small limited companies.”

It was revealed on Wednesday, almost 150 people lost their jobs following the collapse of a construction company.

Family-run Central Building Contractors, which is headquartered in Glasgow, announced it had gone into administration, citing challenging trading conditions – “greatly exacerbated” by the coronavirus crisis.

The joint administrators made 148 employees redundant immediately.

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