In Covid update, News

The latest ASFP Covid 19 Update includes a round-up of news and support available from Government and industry to assist business and construction with the latest Covid-19 restrictions.  This includes:

  • Lockdown restrictions across UK and Ireland
  • Government recognises construction contribution
  • Available business support
  • Site Operating Procedures – Version7

Lockdown restrictions across UK and Ireland

All areas of the UK and Ireland have been placed under new lockdown restrictions. In all regions of the UK, construction is currently defined as essential work which can continue. However in Ireland construction closed from 6pm on Friday 8 January, with limited exceptions.

For the latest Government guidance see:

Government recognises crucial contribution of the construction sector

In a letter to the UK construction sector on 11 January, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy & lndustrial Strategy has reinforced the crucial contribution of the construction sector to the UK’s economic recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the letter he stated:

“As the new Business Secretary, I would like to take this opportunity to restate the Government position, which is that firms and tradespeople in the construction sector and its supply chain, including merchants, suppliers and product manufacturers,should continue to operate during this national lockdown.”

He added that:

“It is vital that construction continues through these unsettling times and I want to reassure you that the Government values the crucial contribution your sector is making. Whether delivering on large or small construction sites, and in peoples’ homes across the country, in builders’ merchants, designing and project managing schemes or producing construction and mineral products, you are making a major contribution to the economic recovery following Covid-19.”

Available business support

On 5 January, the Chancellor announced £4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support businesses. While much of the support was focused on the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors’ a £594 million discretionary fund was made available to support other impacted businesses. A further £1.1 billion was provided for discretionary grant funding for Local Authorities and Local Restriction Support Grants worth up to £3,000.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended for until 30 April 2021. Employees can receive 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, employers will only have to pay National Insurance and pension contributions, with the Government paying the full 80% of wages. Claims for furlough days in December 2020 had to be made by 14 January 2021 and it is no longer possible to submit claims for claim periods ending on or before 31 October 2020.

The third grant available under the Self‐Employed Income Support Scheme from 1 November 2020 until 31 January 2021 is worth 80% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500. The claim must be made on or before 29 January 2021.

Details of available business support is available at

Site Operating Procedures – Version7 

The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) has updated the Site Operating Procedures – Version 7 to reflect the latest Government guidance in England. The changes in Version 7 are minor, including updated guidance on self-isolation and shielding and the removal of the requirement to display a QR code in site canteens.

Build UK has also updated its flowchart on the actions to take if a worker has COVID-19 or needs to self-isolate to reflect the latest Public Health England (PHE) guidance which requires employers to contact PHE if they identify five or more cases within 14 days.