There is no doubt this has been an unprecedented time in both our personal and business lives. It has put immense strain on our industry during a period of slow recovery from previous downturns. The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is here to support its members and the wider community during this difficult and uncertain time. Never has help been so important from trade bodies such as the FMB to its members.
We know that you have needed clarity on whether to keep your sites open, and how to do this in line with Public Health advice. The FMB is advising its members that only emergency and critical construction work should be allowed to continue at this time. The Government must extend financial help to SME building firms in order to protect the health and livelihoods of the industry’s workforce at this time.
The construction industry and its workforce is already feeling the rapidly developing effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and we will continue to respond with urgency and clarity to make sure you are informed and supported.
The FMB is speaking on a regular basis to the UK Government, and to the devolved administration here. We have joined the Government’s Construction Industry Task Force convened to respond to the outbreak. We have written to the Chancellor, the Secretary of State for Business and Stormont’s Executive Departments.
In addition, we have written to the Prime Minister in collaboration with the cross- industry Construction Leadership Council. We are working with other industry bodies such as the NI Construction Group to coordinate our action on your behalf. FMB members need immediate cashflow relief including delaying taxation payments; access to SSP for the self-employed and immediate support with wages. We are also pushing for the Government’s financial support schemes to be implemented as swiftly and seamlessly as possible.
We encourage our members and all within the industry to keep up to date with personal and business advice via reputable sources such as those highlighted at www.fmb.org.uk/coronavirus
The Construction Industry Helpline is available on 0345 605 1956 and provides emotional and financial support to the construction community and their families and is available free of charge for members.
We also advise that you familiarise yourself with Government advice on cleaning in non-healthcare settings. We’ve launched a private Facebook group to help FMB members communicate more easily with each other. Master Builders can search for ‘FMB Members Networking Group’ under Groups on Facebook [Please note, you must supply your FMB membership number and tick the box to agree to the page rules in order to join].
Out of all the chaos we are heartened to see the good will and actions of our industry. Organisations have come together to work for the common good. Contractors have looked to help each other with advice and practical assistance, and we have seen members responding to calls for help from the NHS and PPE provided. Our industry has always demonstrated great resilience in the face of adversity. That will be seen again over the next few months as we work together to rebuild our society. The FMB stands shoulder-to-shoulder with our members to help them do this.