The construction sector has been told to “work from home”, if possible.
Images were being shared on social media of large groups of construction workers working and taking lunch together on site, despite latest government guidance.
Speaking on Twitter after Boris Johnson’s lockdown speech on Monday night, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “Advice for the housing, construction & building maintenance industries:
- If you can work from home, do so.
- If you are working on site, you can continue to do so. But follow Public Health England guidance on social distancing.
Outside of work, remember to #StayHomeSaveLives“
But speaking this morning on Good Morning Britain, Michael Gove built on that advice when quizzed, saying that when a site is empty, construction workers could carry on, providing they adhere to social distancing.
However, he said that if the repairs and maintenance of existing buildings where there are already families living in, they should not be having works done and workers should not be entering the site.
Brian Berry, CEO of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) said: “Our members want to do the right thing, but the advice coming from Government is anything but clear.
“I am calling on the Government to tell my members, today, whether they can continue to go on site and work. Small builders cannot work from home, but without cash grants available now, they risk seeing their livelihoods lost.
“Mixed messages are spreading further anxiety at a time when hundreds of small builders face immediate lost earning, having to make their staff redundant, and seeing their companies go to the wall.
“The £25,000 grant must be extended to construction, support is needed for the self-employed which make up 37% of the industry, and applications for the Job Retention Scheme must be brought forward.”