PM urged to curb construction work as London’s Tubes fill

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Boris Johnson is facing calls to increase restrictions on the construction industry during the coronavirus crisis, as workers continue to squeeze onto their London Underground commute.

Busy scenes have been playing out in the capital’s Tube stations as reduced services force those who cannot work from home to travel while packed closely together.

The images come despite the lockdown that was imposed on the country on Monday night.

The Prime Minister is now being asked to ban non-essential construction workers from heading to building sites and help stop the spread of Covid-19.

Voices from across the political spectrum have argued for stricter rules so workers are not placed at risk, and public transport is not overwhelmed.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged the government to help to reduce demand for public transport in London, saying that “too many of the people using TfL services at the busiest times work in construction”.

“I repeat my call on the government to ban non-safety construction work during this period, as TfL did yesterday,” he said.

But Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has defended allowing construction workers to continue their job, saying the guidelines are “clear” and “stringent”.

“Not all employers will be able to follow them and as a result of that a number, including in the construction sector are choosing to temporarily close - but if it’s possible to follow the guidelines then you can stay in the work place,” he told talkRADIO’s Julia Harltey-Brewer.

Mr Jenrick instead urged Mr Khan to increase transport services at peak times so that those who have to can get to work and still maintain the recommended two-metre-apart rule.

“I think that would be a very important step forward and would allay the public's concerns in the days and weeks ahead,” he said.

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