COVID-19: Alok Sharma hails ‘critical contribution’ of UK construction

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Alok Sharma, secretary of state for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), says those working in construction can ‘continue to do so’ as long as they adhere to Site Operating Procedures

In a letter to the UK construction industry, Sharma paid tribute to those working ‘tirelessly’ delivering on large or small construction sites across the country.

Over the past two weeks, the industry has faced uncertainty, with many workers expressing concerns over a lack of clarity from the government.

Sharma’s letter, therefore, comes at a time when clarification is needed most.

Construction rises to the challenge

He said: “Our country and our economy needs all our support. And the construction industry has answered the call to action.

“Whether by building temporary hospital wards, installing complex and life-saving oxygen systems, constructing the infrastructure that society needs to function or ensuring that people have safe and healthy homes to live in, you are delivering for our Nation through this difficult time.

“My heartfelt and personal thanks for everything that each and every one of you is doing to support our joint national effort.”

Despite the government advising people to work from home, Sharma recognised that many construction workers are unable to do so.

“We know that for many people working in construction their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. This is consistent with the chief medical officer’s advice,” Sharma said.

Site Operating Procedures

In order to ensure that it is safe for you to operate in your workplace, Sharma said sites should work to the Site Operating Procedures (SOP) published by Construction Leadership Council.

As this health guidance updates, the SOP will reflect any changes.

Sharma concluded: “Thank you again to everyone operating in the UK construction sector.

“You are making a hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our Nation and I salute you for the enormous efforts you are individually undertaking to support the UK economy.”

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