TTF says Government must keep cash flowing in construction

23 March 2020

The TTF issued a survey to members to evaluate the impact of the coronavirus and two thirds of the respondents reported a drop in demand for timber as the sector prepares for six to 12 months of disruption.

The impact on businesses has been reported as ‘medium’ by half of the respondents, while a quarter reported the impact as minimal and the remainder as high.

Businesses are reporting they are taking precautionary measures, including cancelling physical meetings and switching customers visits with phone calls and other digital technologies. 80% have limited travel for staff, and a third are reporting some impact to their operation from employees who have needed to self-isolate as a precautionary measure.

While most respondents have reported they are satisfied with the level of support from Government to install health measures, only a third thought enough was being done for business.

The key calls from respondents from Government is for the suspension of VAT, PAYE and Business Rates for small businesses to support cash flow, which is essential for the many SMEs in the construction sector.

“The past week has seen a lot of uncertainty enter the market, both for TTF members and the construction sector as a whole. Covid-19 is a humanitarian crisis, and how it is handled over the coming weeks will determine its economic impact,” said David Hopkin, chief executive officer of the TTF.

“We support the Government in taking steps to protect the health and safety of people, which always must come first, and measures taken to support workers and businesses including loans and the extension of statutory sick pay will prove useful.

“However, we now need the Government to begin showing leadership by providing sector-specific advice. Not all have the option to work from home so we can’t always take a uniform approach. 

“Maintaining cashflow in the construction sector is essential for supporting many thousands of contractors in the construction sector, along with 210,000 SMEs. This means providing assurances that responsibly run construction sites can stay open.

“Further, we need the Government to extend the same support to the construction and manufacturing industry which they have provided to retail and hospitality, as shown through the suspension of business rates.” 

To help the TTF gain a picture of what’s happening across the membership as the coronavirus issue develops you can complete the survey HERE.