UK business leaders’ ’Normandy’ battle plan to excite economy and get nation back to work | City & Business | Finance

The “Normandy” style battle plan will span all sectors of the building industry that over 2.3 million workers and involves designers and engineers and labourers and materials firms. The group of industry heads include Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association have called for a speeding up of the planning process to get infrastructure and home building projects started. The managers of the firms are pushing Rishi Sunak to scrap his Budget decision to cut the red diesel subsidy.

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The firms have submitted the social distancing measures that the will disseminate to all construction sites.

Industry groups are now also working on an agreement to avoid liquidated damages claims which could damage the already fragile construction economy.

Many businesses along construction supply chains have faced delays and hold-ups in purchases of materials for projects because of the virus.

One senior insider told the Daily Telegraph: “We’re on the beach at Normandy.

“If we all start fighting among ourselves, instead of concentrating on the machine gun turret ahead, we’re not going to get far.”

Building groups will need to supply of PPE to the workforce without draining supplies from the NHS.

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The industry has donated about a million face masks to the health service.

A sign that the industry is in crisis was revealed when Barratt Developments, the country’s biggest builder by number of new homes built, said on Thursday that it was furloughing all but 15 percent of its workforce.

The construction group also said it was cutting executive pay by 20 percent until on-site work restarted.

The developer has ceased construction, land buying, and non-essential capital expenditure.

It also cancelled its interim dividend of 9.8p per share, preserving £100m.

Other housebuilders, including Persimmon, Redrow and Taylor Wimpey have announced similar measures to conserve cash, battening down the hatches of their businesses for as long as the pandemic persists.


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Some chief executives in the sector have said they believe construction work may not pick up again until July.

The prolonged closure of sites will mean tens of thousands of homes are delayed or never built, exacerbating a shortage of new homes nationally.

Barratt’s moves to preserve cash were well received by investors, with the housebuilder’s share price rising 8 percent on Thursday morning.

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