The Charted Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) has called on the government to help protect the self-employed in light of the social distancing measures announced.
Kevin Wellman, chief executive officer of the CIPHE, said: “There are approximately 200,000 individuals engaged in the UK plumbing and heating industry, with 85% of those operating as sole traders or in companies of five individuals or fewer.
“The new restrictions effectively cease everyday plumbing and heating works. While we recognise the grave importance of social distancing and stopping the spread of coronavirus, there is also an urgent need to protect the livelihoods of those not covered by the government’s packages seemingly so far aimed at larger businesses.”
He added: “Sole traders are the lifeblood of our industry and will be at the forefront of emergency works to protect the safety, health and welfare of the public. Those who do engage in emergency works risk the health of themselves and their families to keep the vulnerable safe.
“In many instances they are unsung heroes who support the mantra ‘Prevention is better than cure’. There will come a time when the country recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and will look to members of the plumbing and heating industry for services and support. Without extending support for them with immediate effect, the government risks finding they are no longer there.”