Ucatt welcomes delay, claiming haste would have meant critical issues were ignored

A major inquiry into deaths in the construction industry has been delayed by two months.

Rita Donaghy, the former chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Services and former president of the TUC who is chairing the inquiry, faced a grilling in January from MPs concerned about the inquiry. She said then that the report would be in the hands of James Purnell, the secretary of state, “by the last day of April”.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions has now confirmed that the report will now not be submitted until late June.

Donaghy has had numerous meetings with industry leaders and safety bodies as part of the inquiry. Last week, one industry figure said he feared she had taken on too much and would have to work around the clock to have the inquiry complete by the end of April.

Alan Ritchie, the general secretary of Ucatt, said: “When the inquiry was launched late last year, we privately warned that there would not be sufficient time to examine all areas of the industry. Our concerns have now proved to be justified.”

He welcomed the delay, saying: “There was a real danger with a truncated inquiry was that some issues which are critical to site safety could have been glossed over.”

Ucatt is now calling for the inquiry to look at issues such as statutory directors' duties, gangmasters, blacklisting and bogus self-employment.