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‘Open sites now’ says SPOA

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‘Let us get back to work’ plea.

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Scotland’s plant companies want “clear and concise” reasons from Holyrood why the construction industry is not being allowed to re-open sites.

As house builders start returning to work in England, the Scottish Plant Owners Association has warned companies here will go to the wall unless the economy is re-started soon.

In a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and MSPs, the association said it does not understand why Scotland should be different from the rest of the UK and that the situation is causing frustration among its members.

Signed by Paul McCormack, a committee member and managing director of Blackwood Plant Hire, the letter points out employees from Scotland are working on sites in England and following the Construction Leadership Council’s advice on safe working but those same employees are banned from sites north of the border.

It goes on: “Due to this difference the SPOA members are having to re-open our offices in Scotland to support our work in England but really the utilisation of our fleets does not justify reopening our Scottish offices just for that work.”

The SPOA contends that members have to maintain a service to customers in England or risk losing out to English hirers. House builders including Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes have already announced they will return to work next week but not in Scotland.

Blackwood continued: “The majority of our industry is highly geared with high HP/lease payments that of course can be stopped by those finance companies who allow a payment holiday but that is only a deferral. When we restart our businesses we will require cash to pay the increased wages bills and supplier payments whilst we have to wait on our customers paying ourselves, who will be in the same position after a six-week shutdown.

“In essence, the longer our industry is closed the fewer businesses will be able to survive. Insolvencies will cause more cost to the Government in statutory redundancy payments paid by the National Insurance Fund.

In summary, if the guidance from the UK Government and Construction Leadership Council is followed, why should construction sites in Scotland not re-start? We are looking for clear and concise information from the Scottish Government as to why our industry is being held behind the rest of the UK and a date when you will update the advice about allowing a return to work.”

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©Scottish Plant.  Article posted 29/4/2020