Coronavirus: Construction daily briefing 23 March

23 March 2020 | By CM staff

Image: Dreamstime/Dgmate


This short briefing has been prepared on behalf of the UK construction sector to brief companies and individuals on the ongoing repercussions of the Covid-19 coronavirus for our sector.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

On Friday the UK government announced the launch of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme is intended to provide support to continue paying part of the salary of employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

Businesses wanting to use the scheme will need to:

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

VAT deferral

The UK government has said it will defer VAT payments for three months, from 20 March 2020 until 30 June 2020. All UK businesses are eligible and will be deferred automatically. Taxpayers will be given until the end of the 2020-2021 tax year to pay any liabilities that have accumulated during the deferral period. VAT refunds and reclaims will be paid by the government as normal.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which was launched at the Budget, will now be interest free for twelve months, rather than the previous six months. Further details of the scheme, which will be available from this week, can be found at

Public sector clients – support to suppliers

The UK government has published advice to public clients on how they can support their suppliers during the covid-19 crisis. Key points include:

- an extension of time for contract performance (eg revised milestones dates or delivery dates, etc);

- a waiver or delay in the ability of the contracting authority to exercise a right and/or remedy (eg to claim liquidated and ascertained damages, service credits or terminate the contract)

The full note is available at:

Your feedback is vital – new survey 23 March

The construction industry’s federations are in regular dialogue with representatives from the UK Government to discuss the impact of covid-19. To support this work we need feedback from businesses as to how they are affected by the pandemic.

Please take 5 minutes to fill in this survey to ensure that this work is supported by the most up-to-date feedback from industry. The new survey can be found at

CITB update – employer support for apprentices

Braden Connolly, CITB’s products and services director, said: “Apprenticeships are critical to the future of the construction industry. Coronavirus is placing unprecedented pressure on employers – especially SMEs – so CITB will help them with the funding of apprenticeships by bringing forward payment of some apprenticeship grants. This is additional to the Chancellor’s job retention scheme announced on Friday. It is clear that relief must come rapidly, and CITB will announce details in days rather than weeks. In the meantime, we urge all employers not to dismiss any apprentices without first speaking to our apprenticeship team at [email protected]

Government Advice 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has updated its guidance for employers, employees and businesses during the pandemic:

Scottish Government

The Scottish Government announced updated its advice to business in the light of the UK’s Government’s announcements:  

The Briefing has been prepared in collaboration between the industry’s leading trade and representative bodies: Association for Consultancy & Engineering, Build UK, Chartered Institute of Building, Civil Engineering Contractors Association, Construction Plant-hire Association, Construction Products Association, Electrical Contractors Association, Federation of Master Builders, and Institution of Civil Engineers.


What about people like me working through agencies and £1200 a week as a site manager now have nothing and can’t claim anything

Jimmy McBride, 23 March 2020

how can effective distancing be maintained on a busy construction site? Sharing of the absolute minimum of welfare facilities can only add to the spread of the virus! Migration of different trades from all over the country to construction sites will only accelerate the national spread of the virus! Why has the construction industry been subjected to the same stringent rules as the entertainment, food and beverage industries??

Keith Davies, 23 March 2020

Further to the PM's announcement last night and a further tweet from Robert Jenrick can you clarify what the situation is with building sites, do they have to close?

David Graham, 24 March 2020

What about domestic construction? We are told not to visit family homes but then told to go to work. So I cant pop next door for a cuppa but I can go round to install a new fuseboard/taps etc etc it just doesn't make sense

James Perry, 24 March 2020

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