Build UK’s update the industry amid the covid-19 outbreak 

The chancellor has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended until the end of October 2020, avoiding a ‘cliff edge’ and getting people back to work in a measured way.

There will be no changes to the scheme until the end of July, with furloughed workers continuing to receive 80% of their salary, up to £2,500 a month. From the start of August, flexibility will be introduced which will enable employers to bring back furloughed workers part-time and pay a percentage of their salaries. The scheme has supported almost one million businesses to furlough 7.5 million workers to date, and further information on the scheme going forward will be published by the end of this month.

With construction now being actively encouraged to return to work, Build UK contractor members have reopened more sites, reporting this week that 77% of sites in England and Wales are open for business, up from 73% last week. 82% of infrastructure and construction projects are now running and output has remained consistent at 71%.

Members that include housing in their portfolios have reported a 13% increase in the number of housing sites now open, rising to 68% compared to 55% last week. Output has improved significantly and now stands at 53%, up from 29% two weeks ago.

This should increase further after housing secretary Robert Jenrick announced plans yesterday to re-start the housing market, which as well as allowing people to move home safely will enable builders to agree extended working hours on construction sites with their local councils.

The claims service for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme opens today. Individuals can use the online checker tool to find out if they are eligible and when they can submit their claim. The scheme offers a taxable grant worth 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment within six working days of a claim being completed.

The Government has published new statistics showing that businesses have benefitted from over £14bn in loans and guarantees during the coronavirus crisis. This includes 268,000 Bounce Back Loans worth £8.3 billion, 36,000 loans worth over £6bn through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and £359m through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

You can find out which support your business is eligible for by visiting the government’s Business Support Finder, and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) has published guidance on preparing a loan application.

Build UK partner Cast Consultancy has published a report on the impact of coronavirus on the construction industry across both live and future projects. The Coronavirus Impact: A New Paradigm considers the effects on the supply of materials, services and labour, as well as commercial factors including the volume of transactions and tender prices.

Businesses should continue to follow the most up-to-date government guidance and for the latest updates please follow Build UK on Twitter and LinkedIn. If you have any construction-specific queries or feedback on what is happening within the industry, please contact Build UK.