Pressure increasing to halt construction work

The government is facing increasing pressure to stop non-essential construction work to help tackle the spread of coronavirus in the UK.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that those who cannot do their jobs from home should go to work to ‘keep the country running’, highlighting that construction work can continue so long as people are two metres apart.

However, the decision has labelled as prioritising the economy over public health, with Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, telling the BBC that the decision to allow non-essential work appeared to have been made for ‘economic reasons’ and argued that ‘health reasons alone really should be guiding all decision-making’.

Some builders and construction workers have said they feel ‘unprotected’ going to work, while others are under pressure from employers to go in.

Conservative Iain Duncan Smith told BBC Two's Newsnight: "I think the balance is where we should delete some of those construction workers from going to work and focus only on the emergency requirements."

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said building sites should close, unless it involves an essential building such as a hospital.