Over the past few days the Prime Minister and his advisors have been describing the “One way road to freedom” which outlines the relaxations to the current Covid restrictions over the next few months. Stage One will be the reopening of schools on March 8th and the ability to meet with larger social groups by March 29th. Stage Two will be the opening of more shops and pub gardens by April 12th. Stage Three allows larger groups to meet outside together with the opening of theatres and all other restrictions are to be lifted under Stage Four proposals on June 21st. Of course all of these plans are made in the expectation of continuing reductions in covid cases.

I am sure that we are all very relieved to hear this news after more than 12 months of restrictions that have affected all our private and our working lives.

The relaxation of rules has been possible as the programme of mass vaccination is rolled out across the UK. This started with the elderly and most vulnerable in society and is gradually reaching more and more of the population. The more people that are vaccinated the more the risk of spreading the virus is reduced.

By now some of you will have had your first vaccination and others may well have an appointment arranged as the programme is rolled out. I want you all to know that the company supports the vaccination programme. I also know that it may be difficult for some of you to arrange or attend a vaccination centre. Please understand that you will not be penalised for taking time off to attend for vaccination and the company will help you achieve this if at all possible. Currently I understand that appointments are made either through your GP or after invitation from the NHS.

Whether or not you have had the vaccination I expect us all to continue to heed the guidelines regarding social distancing, face masks and hand washing. We require all staff and visitors to our places of work to continue to follow these rules.

We are all very lucky that the construction sector has been less affected than other parts of the economy. We have been able to work through this latest “Lockdown” which of course coincides with the winter period. As we move away from this difficult time and in to spring we are encouraged by a strong group performance through the past 6 months and also by some great future opportunities.

I know that all of you have been affected by this crisis over these past 12 months. The senior staff have worked tirelessly through the numerous challenges that we have faced. I thank you all for supporting the business through these difficult periods. Because of your commitment to the company I know that we can all look forward to brighter times ahead. I look forward to seeing more of you back in our offices very soon.

Tony Rimoldi

Group Chief Executive