NFB warns Government of cash-flow crisis amid continuing construction
The National Federation of Builders (NFB) is warning the Government of an impending cash-flow crisis in the construction industry as its members continue to wait to hear when the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will open and be available to make payments.
The Treasury had previously pledged that the portal, set up to support businesses in paying furloughed workers, would open the week beginning 30 March 2020. However, the portal is still not operational and is not scheduled to be so until the end of April, with no date as to when payments will be made.
Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, commented:
“The Government must speed up the opening of the CJRS otherwise those in the construction industry who have had to shut down and furlough staff will face a cash-flow crisis that will lead to closures. At the very least we must have clarity as to when the scheme will become operational and make payments”
The Government’s position is that construction sites can remain open but the NFB is calling on members to take a values-led, risk-managed approach in continuing to operate sites.
“Construction sites remaining open should have the support of the client and where a site or contractor wishes to suspend construction, the client should support closure and remobilisation costs. No contracting business wants to suspend activity but the safety of staff and their families is paramount.
Where sites wish or need to remain open and operational, they must operate in a safe manner by following Public Health England (PHE) guidance, the Site Operating Procedures (SOP) and ensure the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).”
The warning comes as the NFB joins with industry colleagues in the Construction Leadership Council (CLC), writing to the Prime Minister to set out the urgent action that needs to be taken to ensure the survival of the industry.