Construction bodies call for urgent cashflow action in Scotland

Fiona Hodgson

A group of respected construction industry bodies has suggested a number of simple actions which the Scottish Government could introduce to help with cashflow and protect jobs against the “crippling” background of coronavirus.

SELECT, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbers’ Federation (SNIPEF), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA Scotland) and the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) are among the 10 organisations who have sent a joint letter to Fiona Hyslop, secretary for economy, fair work and culture, urging her to support the Scottish construction sector.

In its hard-hitting letter, the group said: “Most of Scotland’s economy is made up of micro and small businesses, many of whom are already facing the closure of construction sites and a reduction in domestic work. This will undoubtedly lead to business closures, loss of jobs and skills at a time that Scotland can least afford and would seriously dent Scotland’s future economic growth.

“However, what we would do need Scottish government to do, in this unprecedented time, is to use its influence with clients to ask that payments are accelerated as quickly as possible to ensure that the flow of cash will continue.

“It is also vital that clients ensure that payment must be cascaded down the supply chain to ensure that everyone who is legitimately due cash is paid more quickly. We would also request that all public sector clients immediately release any retentions due to boost cash flow in the sector.”

Fiona Hodgson, chief executive of SNIPEF, said: “The new CICV Forum will now share views weekly and feed into the Scottish government. It is vital therefore that members keep us abreast of the issues they are facing as they develop.”

Aileen Campbell, cabinet secretary for communities and local government, this week announced a package of measures to help Scotland’s communities cope with the “worldwide public health emergency”.

This included an additional £350m for local hardship funds, £45m for the Scottish Welfare Fund and a £20m Third Sector Resilience Fund to help organisations cope with cashflow.