Secretary of State thanks merchants for COVID-19 contribution

Thanked for "hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our nation."

01 Apr, 20

The Builders’ Merchants Federation (BMF) has circulated a letter from the Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, thanking its merchant members for their contribution during the COVID-19 crisis.

BMF clarifies merchant operational status in COVID-19 crisis

The Secretary of State paid tribute to those delivering to large and small construction sites, from builders merchants through to logistics providers and construction products manufacturers.

He thanked them for their “hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our nation.”

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Earlier this week, the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) published Site Operating Procedures (SOP) that align with the latest guidance from Public Health England to help ensure the safety of those working on site.

The BMF is one of the 12 leading construction trade bodies forming the CLC, the taskforce in daily contact with the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The association also secured a template letter from government for delivery drivers to use while continuing to deliver materials to essential customers during the COVID-19 crisis, should they be challenged.

CEO of the BMF John Newcomb said: “Alok Sharma’s letter makes it clear that the Government needs the support of the whole construction industry to build temporary hospital wards, construct the infrastructure that society needs to function and ensure that people have safe and healthy homes to live in.

“But we are also extremely mindful that we are not in a ‘business as usual’ situation.

“Operations on construction sites and within builders’ merchants and building materials’ manufacturing plants must follow Public Health England guidelines to minimise the risk of transmitting coronavirus and, where people cannot work from home, to provide a safe workplace.

“The BMF is here to provide support, but our members must make the best decision for their individual business.

“As a member of the CLC we are able to provide our members with the very latest information and advice from government.

“And, of course, within that forum we are also raising the issues that are causing our members the most concern and finding ways to help overcome them.”