THE PRIME MINISTER announced on Saturday a Tier 4 ‘Stay at Home’ alert level across London and the South East in response to the faster spread of the new Coronavirus variant.
Although the new Tier 4 rules see various parts of the country set to stay at home avoiding all but essential travel, the construction industry remains open.
Many sites remain operational, only closing for a short period over the Christmas holidays and new year. A recent survey by Close Brothers Asset Finance of construction companies showed 57% had no staff working from home.
The tightening of restrictions has caused serious concerns for the UK’s economy, with many sectors and businesses fearing that they will have to close their doors for good. Billions of pounds were wiped from the stock market this morning as UK freight has been banned from entering Europe and no Brexit deal has still been done.
Backbone of the economy
In light of these concerns, the industries that are staying open will prove to be the backbone of the economy during this winter. The construction and manufacturing sectors both saw growth following the lift in the spring lockdown, and it’s hoped this upward trajectory will continue.
Ben Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, said:
“The economic recovery we have seen over the past months is indeed welcome, but of course with much of Britain being placed into Tier 4, this month and the subsequent winter season are going to present yet more challenges. That’s why it would be prudent to look towards sectors that remain open, such as construction and the trades, to provide the kind of stability we need at the moment.
“The new restrictions have had a negligible impact on the construction sector so far, and overall activity around construction has to be welcomed. Given the bonanza that housebuilders are currently experiencing from the stamp duty reduction, it’s no surprise that they are the best performing sector of the construction industry. Whether this boom for the housing industry will be followed by a bust is unknown. At the moment, most firms are just grateful for the good business they are getting right now given how much other sectors are suffering.
Supply of building materials
“It is disappointing that the supply of building materials remains a constraint and it could be argued that suppliers over-reacted to the first lockdown, creating this situation. The reduction in the rate of PMI growth could be the first signs of a drop in demand from lockdown related macroeconomic damage. Let’s hope that isn’t the case.
“However, it looks like the new restrictions will not impact the specific sub-sector of home improvement, although the jury is still out. It may be that homeowners become more anxious over time, particularly if the virus continues spreading rapidly. The biggest concern overall is about the supply of materials.”