UK Construction & Engineering: Another Lockdown

By Vijay Bange

The New Year has been ushered in by an alarming surge in hospitalisations and sadly a dramatic increase in deaths from the ongoing pandemic. The Government was under increasing pressures to take action. Consequently, the Prime Minister has on 3 January announced another national lockdown, with measures which became law on Wednesday 6th January 2021.

In summary:

  • This broadly mirrors the measures declared in the March 2020 lockdown.
  • Stay at home and only allowed to go out for essential reasons i.e. essential shopping, medical appointments and exercise (once a day).
  • Work from home unless you are unable and its “unreasonable” to do so.
  • Non-essential retail, leisure and entertainment businesses to close.
  • Essential businesses can carry on i.e. pharmacies, supermarkets., petrol stations, MOT service garages, launderettes, banks and post offices, doctors and dentists.
  • Builders merchants and garden centres have also been allowed to stay open.
  • As before, trades people can carry on working, with requirement to comply with safe Covid working guidelines.
  • Manufacturing and construction sectors to stay open.
  • As previously, the Government has made clear that construction, and the property sector must be supported, given how important they are for the economy now, and to eventually climb out of the recession. On this lockdown estate agents will be allowed to operate, and activities associated with house moves and removals can proceed. There remains the stamp duty holiday.
  • The measures to go on until at least 15 February 2021.

There are discussions on restrictions on entry at airports without clear Covid tests. Travel is restricted to essential travel only. This may effect projects with an international element.

The Government has made clear that certain industry sectors are crucial for the economy. Construction is clearly identified as such. Interestingly, on this occasion related sectors in the property/housing market, that frankly go hand in hand, are also supported. In a previous blog the measures to allow greater flexibility with site opening / working times was discussed, this being another measure to support a crucial industry for the economy.  Coming weeks may seek other support for the sector.