Build UK is the leading representative organisation for the UK construction industry. By bringing together Clients, Main Contractors, Trade Associations representing over 11,500 Specialist Contractors and other organisations committed to industry collaboration, Build UK represents in excess of 40% of UK construction.
Their regular updates contain important information for our industry.
Last updated: 16 April
Delivering an Infrastructure Revolution
The latest in Build UK’s series of factsheets on major infrastructure projects features Birmingham Interchange Station, a critical part of the HS2 network which will connect services from the South East to the North West and the North East. With construction due to start in 2024, it will bring London, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield within an hour’s journey of Birmingham, providing a catalyst for investment in the West Midlands and beyond, as part of the Government’s plans for levelling up the economy across Britain.
Build UK has now published a dozen factsheets covering a range of national and local projects, including Full‐Fibre Broadband and Northern Powerhouse Rail, and they are designed to help everyone in the industry explain what each project is and why it is being built in Britain today.
Product Shortages ‐ CLC Statement
The CLC Product Availability Group has issued a statement on the availability of construction products, which confirms that demand will remain high throughout 2021 and urges ‘all users [to] plan for increased demand and longer delays, keep open lines of communication with their suppliers and order early for future projects’. It highlights timber, steel, polymer supplies and coatings as materials of particular concern, with both timber and steel experiencing very strong global demand.
Build UK is working with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) to monitor the availability of construction materials post‐Brexit. There are no products currently RAG‐rated ‘red’, with most manufacturers reporting that the mitigation strategies they put in place have avoided significant delays or shortages, and they will continue to hold extra stock this quarter to ensure continuity of supply.
VAT Deferral New Payment Scheme
Companies that deferred VAT payments between 20 March and 30 June 2020 and still have payments to make need to join the VAT deferral new payment scheme by 21 June 2021. However, if they join by 21 April, they will be able to pay their deferred VAT in 10 instalments, rather than eight or nine instalments if they wait until closer to the deadline. To join the scheme, a company must have:
- a Government Gateway account
- submitted any outstanding VAT returns from the last four years and corrected any errors on existing returns
- calculated how much it owes, including the amount originally deferred and how much has already been paid.
Companies must pay the first instalment upon joining the scheme and make subsequent payments via Direct Debit.
Lifetime Skills Guarantee
As part of the Government’s new Lifetime Skills Guarantee, people aged 24 and over in England who do not have A levels, an advanced technical diploma or equivalent can now take their first full Level 3 qualification for free. Nearly 400 qualifications are available, focussed on areas where employers are looking for skills, including over 60 construction‐related courses, such as bricklaying, carpentry, demolition, civil engineering and tunnelling.
Around 11 million adults are eligible for the scheme, which is backed by £95 million in Government funding, and individuals can train part‐time, full time or online for up to 12 weeks depending on the course (or up to 16 weeks on a full‐time skills bootcamp) while continuing to receive Universal Credit.
Apprentice Wage Rates
Following the increase in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates from 1 April 2021, the CIJC has confirmed that, where the pay rates for apprentices in the Working Rule Agreement do not align with the NMW, the NMW takes precedence and apprentices should paid in line with the latest NMW rates.
Additional Plant Grant
CITB‐registered employers can apply for up to four short‐period qualification grants at each VQ level per individual. Following the reinstatement of the Additional Plant‐Related VQ Unit Grant, at Level 2 these can now include up to three plant‐related VQ units which attract a grant of £300 each.
The Government has amended its guidance on COVID‐19 testing so that anyone who receives a positive result from a lateral flow test, taken either at home or at a test site, must now get a confirmatory PCR test. Build UK has updated its flowchart on what to do if a worker has COVID‐19 or needs to self‐isolate, as well as its guide to workplace testing, accordingly.
The CBI has published its submission to the COVID‐Status Certification Review, setting out seven key principles that should underpin any certification scheme used to allow access to certain locations based on vaccine or testing data. These principles include being voluntary, science‐led and time‐limited, simple to use, and consistent across all four nations of the UK.
People Survey ‐ Final Reminder!
The latest CLC People Survey will close for responses at the end of tomorrow (16 April) and please help us to help you by finding 10 minutes to share the impact that coronavirus has had on your workforce over the last year. Previous surveys helped to secure a range of support for the sector, including funding for the Construction Talent Retention Scheme, and we will use the latest results to prioritise further support for employers.