Opinion: Official line needed now on site closures

Grant Prior 3 years ago
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In times of crisis you need leadership.

The construction industry is getting none.

The government needs to act now and rule what sites and companies are key to the economy and should still be working.

Instead one of the country’s biggest industries has been left in limbo by politicians making-up policy on the hoof.

Pictures of hordes of site workers crammed into canteens have turned construction into a pariah industry in a matter of days.

Some firms are behaving recklessly.

But the real blame lies at Downing Street where a lack of guidance has created confusion and chaos across the whole construction sector.

Boris Johnson needs to spell out pandemic rules for construction in exactly the same way retailers are told who can and cannot stay open.

Making it crystal clear to clients and main contractors what work can continue will give companies a baseline to surviving this crisis.

Construction can then concentrate on those jobs and figure out ways of working safely within social distancing guidelines.

The industry will keep ticking-over while providing vital work for the nation now and a platform for the post-pandemic recovery.

Construction workers would then be seen as key personnel doing their bit for the country – rather than the current disastrous public image portrayed in the national media.

But all this can only happen if the Prime Minister acts now.

Our industry has been treated disgracefully in this crisis.

Our construction minister has been found wanting, while our trade bodies are not taken seriously by anyone in power.

An industry which makes up 8% of the economy has been left to make-up its own rules while ministers frame policy answering random questions from journalists or taking to Twitter.

It simply isn’t good enough and has to stop now.

Johnson needs to step-up at his next briefing – thank the industry for all it is doing and spell out exactly where it can and cannot work.

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