CLC unveils construction’s coronavirus recovery plan

Delaying implementation of reverse-charge VAT for a year and increased public-sector investment in regeneration projects are among the measures called for by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in a new series of proposals designed to help the sector recover.

Members of the leadership body are speaking to government about implementing the measures, which it has released today in a document called Roadmap to Recovery.

It calls on the public and private sectors to work together to help the sector and its three million workers help drive a national economic recovery. “Failure to act will miss an opportunity to deliver this, and risks the industry lapsing into a longer-term recession, which erodes capability and skills, and leaves a smaller, weaker sector as a legacy,” it warns.

Measures the organisation wants implemented include procurement based on whole-life value rather than lowest cost as well as an increased focus on building safety.

It asks the government to further delay new VAT rules that were meant to be introduced last October. These make payment of the tax responsibility of the customer rather than the supplier in order to combat VAT fraud in supply chains. The change was delayed until October 2020 and the CLC said this should now be put off until October 2021 to help the sector.

It says apprenticeship levy contributions should become “flexible” to help cashflow amid the crisis.

The plan also calls on public bodies to publish revised pipelines of infrastructure project plans, and says the government should accelerate development of business cases for civils projects as well as speeding up procurement and construction of projects to boost the industry. Regeneration programmes should be implemented to support towns and generate employment.

Meanwhile the industry itself has been asked to use more digital technology to help share data, increase adoption of collaborative business models and contractual terms and ensure prompt payments throughout the supply chain.

Construction Leadership Council joint chair Andy Mitchell said: “The unprecedented challenge of coronavirus calls for unprecedented solutions. I am delighted by the way the industry has collaborated at pace to develop this plan, targeting those interventions that will help the industry get back on its feet as quickly as possible. We hope that everyone will take the opportunity to read the plan and consider the part you can play in its delivery.”

Author: Ian Weinfass

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