ILP calls on Boris Johnson to protect infrastructure projects in COVID-19 crisis

by | Mar 23, 2020

The Institution of Lighting Professionals has written to the Prime Minister about the current COVID-19 crisis.  The ILP Chief Executive, Tracey White, has asked Boris Johnson to help ensure that work is maintained on infrastructure projects. 

She assured him that the construction sector is acting responsibly to maintain public safety. In her letter, she pointed out that it is better placed to do so than many others.

Her letter says that,

“In view of the grave crisis facing the health of the nation, and concerns for our long-term economic future, many businesses and local authorities concerned with infrastructure are looking to your leadership to help people keep working safely when possible and maintaining economic activity…

“Construction industry work is predominantly conducted outside where there is less chance of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. With much of the general population self-isolating and working from home, the roads and transport networks will be relatively quiet allowing closures, traffic management, etc to be undertaken without undue disruption.

“Businesses also need a raft of measures to keep them going, including deferring some tax payments, and enabling them to keep paying everyone in the supply chain”.

The letter is fully supportive of the representations being made to Government by the Construction Leadership Council and others.

The text of ILP Chief Executive Tracey White’s letter follows:

The importance of infrastructure projects in the current COVID-19 crisis

Dear Prime Minister

In view of the grave crisis facing the health of the nation, and concerns for our long-term economic future, many businesses and local authorities concerned with infrastructure are looking to your leadership to help people keep working safely when possible and maintaining economic activity.

The Institution of Lighting Professionals is therefore fully supportive of the representations made to you by Construction Leadership Council and others.

Construction industry work is predominantly conducted outside where there is less chance of transmitting the COVID-19 virus. With much of the general population self-isolating and working from home, the roads and transport networks will be relatively quiet allowing closures, traffic management, etc to be undertaken without undue disruption.

Many other areas of economic activity will be very difficult to sustain whilst the crisis lasts.  This means that the work of over 3 million people in the construction industry will be even more important and it may become a much more significant proportion of our GDP than the normal 12 – 14%.

Guidance about social distancing etc. is very welcome and will help those able to work to protect themselves and others.  Our members are following advice to protect the health of their staff, their families and the wider public. Some aspects of this guidance are easier to follow for major infrastructure projects.

Such projects are vital for the survival of tens of thousands of SMEs, a high proportion of the construction industry’s work force (40%) is self-employed and immediately reliant on the continuation of them. Many of our members fall into one of these categories.

Help is needed to enable firms to continue working as far as it is safe to do so, or to continue paying staff in the event that projects have to be suspended.

Businesses also need a raft of measures to keep them going, including deferring some tax payments, and enabling them to keep paying everyone in the supply chain.

We will, of course, continue to work with Government to keep construction sites safe and open for as long as it is responsible to do so.

Thank you for your attention, and that of your key ministers, to these considerations.

For further information on this news article, please contact: Tracey White, Chief Executive Officer – tracey@theilp.org.uk.

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