Paul Luff, Chairman of TTA, is urging the tiling industry to do what it can to ensure that the emergence from lockdown is as trouble-free as possible.
“It’s great that we now have the opportunity to get our businesses back up and running as near normal as possible, but critically we must not risk a new spike in the virus. It is really encouraging to see the green shoots of recovery, with more and more people returning to work with each passing day – and actually many of our members’ order books surprisingly healthy.
“However we have to be careful – a widespread flouting of the rules, leading to an increase in cases being admitted to hospital and renewed restrictions would be an absolute disaster not just for our industry but the UK in general. This would push many businesses, already in a fragile place, over the edge.
“Since the general economic indicators are now challenging, it is easy to see how we could end up going backwards. A recession in the construction sector would be very bad for our industry, so we need to do all we can to avoid it.
“Everyone has a part to play in ensuring that we all stay safe during this period and are able to keep our businesses profitable. Although we may see flouting of the rules elsewhere, we must stay focused and ensure that we follow the rules in our own activities and in our own businesses.
“Throughout the crisis TTA has been lobbying Government via its partners in Build UK and the Construction Products Association. This resulted in direct contact with BEIS and the issuing of clarification that tile retailers and distributors were allowed to trade during the crisis, provided they followed the social distancing and correct hygiene protocols, as outlined in the Branch Operating Guidelines.
“During the crisis TTA has issued daily guidance for the trade on operating COVID-secure businesses, and this can be found on the Coronavirus Support Page of the TTA website. All guidance is subject to change, for instance with regard to the recent change in requirements for face coverings. We would urge members to refer frequently to the information that TTA publishes, as we come out of lockdown.
“As an update, TTA are now active in a CLC (Construction Leadership Council) working group with an aim to stimulate growth within the domestic RMI (Renovation, Maintenance and Improvement) market. Initiatives include lobbying for a VAT reduction in relation to RMI and also for ways to speed up the planning process to stimulate demand. Also, we are lobbying to increase the target of new homes built per year.
“I want to stress finally that each and every one of us should take responsibility to play our part and follow the rules. Stay Safe – the stakes are very high and the risks of going into reverse are considerable for our businesses and for the tiling industry generally.”