Scottish firms run out of cash after hard site lockdown

Aaron Morby 4 years ago
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Cashflow has completely dried up for nearly 80% of construction firms in Scotland.

The impact of the Scottish Government’s decision to call for a full construction lockdown of all but essential work has been revealed in a major survey carried out by the newly-established Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum.

Over 370 firms representing a wide spread of activity from electrical, plumbing and roofing specialists, to  surveyors and architects, took part in the survey.

More than half the firms said they were owed vital monies from public and private sector clients, with invoices now overdue.

More than two-thirds had furloughed staff, and over a third had shut completely.

More than a quarter currently have staff and subcontractors in self-isolation.

John McKinney, secretary of the key Forum trade body members, said: “These disturbing results illustrate very clearly that the construction sector in Scotland is being hard hit, despite the measures that have been put in place to alleviate the pain.

“It is clearly incumbent on all branches of government and public bodies to step up efforts to expedite payments under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme announced by the Chancellor.

“However, there is a danger that even this may be too late for many firms, especially smaller enterprises.”

One respondent said: “Cashflow is a major concern; we will only last a maximum of six weeks if government funding or bank loans don’t come through.

“We will then have to start making staff redundant.”

Another contractor voiced his frustration at those businesses still ignoring the lockdown, saying: “I’d like to see a clampdown across the whole industry, with penalties enforced on those flouting government instructions.”

Respondents also called for better information from the UK and Scottish Governments, with requests for greater clarity over both what work can be carried out and the financial and commercial implications of the virus.

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