In a letter written to the Scottish government, the Scottish Plant Owner Association (SPOA) has expressed frustration at the fact that construction sites in Scotland remain closed while sites are beginning to re-open in the rest of the UK.
Paul McCormack, a member of SPOA’s executive committee and Managing Director of Blackwood Plant Hire, wrote the letter on behalf of the association’s 250 members.
He said, “We currently are facing unprecedented times with the coronavirus pandemic and feel that the different message from the Scottish Government regarding the construction industry compared to the rest of the UK is causing frustration throughout Scotland.”
McCormack cited the fact that on Friday 24 April Taylor Wimpey and Persimmon Homes announced they would be re-starting construction sites the following week, but not in Scotland until they have guidance from the Scottish government.
The letter pointed out that the UK government and Construction Leadership Council have published guidance on how to work safely on site.
“If sites can re-start on the basis of that guidance, then we can all get back to work and start putting money back into the economy and allow the self-employed workers to start supporting their families,” McCormack said.
He added that those self-employed workers are not yet getting any payments from the government, unlike employees who remain employed under the furlough scheme.
Due to the disparity between Scotland and the UK, the letter also said SPOA’s members are being put in an awkward position because they are having to re-open depots in Scotland to support projects in England and retain those customers, even though the fleet utilisation rates do not justify reopening.