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Urgent action needed to help firms during coronavirus crisis

Published: 24 March 2020 - Carly Wills

A group of respected construction industry bodies, who between them represent the majority of contractor business in Scotland, has suggested a number of simple actions which the Scottish Government could introduce immediately to help with cashflow and protect jobs against the ‘crippling’ background of coronavirus.

SELECT, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbers’ Federation (SNIPEF), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA Scotland) and the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) are among the ten organisations who have sent a joint letter to Fiona Hyslop, secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, urging her to support the Scottish construction sector.

The group, which also includes the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), the Lift and Escalator Industry Association (LEIA), the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), the Scaffolding Association, the Stone Federation and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC), said that without immediate action, the industry would face ‘business closures and loss of jobs and skills’.

In its hard-hitting letter, the group - which calls itself the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum - says: “Most of Scotland’s economy is made up of micro and small businesses, many of whom are already facing the closure of construction sites and a reduction in domestic work. This will undoubtedly lead to business closures, loss of jobs and skills at a time that Scotland can least afford and would seriously dent Scotland’s future economic growth. 

“However, what we do need Scottish Government to do, in this unprecedented time, is to use its influence with clients to ask that payments are accelerated as quickly as possible to ensure that the flow of cash will continue. 

“It is also vital that clients ensure that payment must be cascaded down the supply chain to ensure that everyone who is legitimately due cash is paid more quickly. We would also request that all public sector clients immediately release any retentions due to boost cash flow in the sector.”

The CICV Forum is also asking the government to allow public sector clients to:

• Suspend the use of open tenders
• Use the Quick Quote method of tendering where possible
• Ask public sector clients to provide clarity on existing contracts and on the contractual position regarding delays
• Keep the momentum going to ensure the industry survives



 
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