Monday, 26 October 2020

The construction industry is one of the biggest claimers of furlough money 



The construction industry has been hit hard. On the one hand we are to continue as normal, construction needs to happen after all, and on the other hand we are hit with delays in materials, employees not able to come in because of illness or self isolating, sites being shut down or on pause; so what is really going on?

It’s fair to say that we do have to keep working. However there are many of us across the country who unfortunately have found ourselves in the position of having to claim furlough. According to HMRC building companies have claimed quite a substantial proportion of the money that was allocated for the furlough scheme, in fact it is one of the highest claimers. But why? Surely we are able to go back to work? The building trade in the UK is a large and lucrative business, especially if you’re one of the top bodies, pre Covid of course. As with every other industry we have been hit by this pandemic and in more ways than are perhaps seen on the surface. Construction still has to continue, we need places to live, hospitals, infrastructure and many other buildings for the country to be able to function. However, there are many workers who aren’t on the frontline, who have been furloughed in the hope of getting back to ‘normal’ asap. 

The construction industry has a collection of employees, contract workers and self employed, so in total, the amount of support our industry has received is huge. For that we must be grateful. We have a long way to go to be back to ‘normal’. Supply chains are being disrupted which obviously means that there are delays on site. But we must just try and get on with it as much as we can, perhaps look at other outlets, other places to get materials, perhaps now is the time to reassess the way we do things on site. Try and get the most from this as possible.  

There are so many ways in which we are still going to be affected by this current situation, and with the furlough system changing now, the future is still up in the air. Thankfully the Government has put in another system to help those who are still affected financially. The office staff we rely on, the ones who organise and process the wages, those who perhaps aren’t on site but without whom we would be lost, those who are behind the scenes and those who are on centre stage, everyone who makes these projects come to fruition, these are the people that these grants are for. We don’t want to lose any more people from our industry for good; we want and need construction to thrive. We have so many exciting opportunities coming and as the age old saying goes, ‘there’s strength in numbers’. Our industry is a front line service and without us we wouldn’t have any of the building resources we do. We should be proud of everything we have gone through in the last few months. We’re not out of the woods yet but we are seeing better ways of coping with things. 

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