CONCERNS have been raised that construction workers should not go to work, despite the government saying they should.

Builders should still work on open-air and emergency jobs, but all non-essential work in a person's house should stop under new partial lockdown measures, Michael Gove, Minister for the Cabinet Office, confirmed.

However, the partner of a builder from Basingstoke is concerned that they will not be able to keep their distance from colleagues.

Speaking to the Gazette, the person, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "From what I can see these workers are not classed as key workers, yet my partner is being told to work as normal.

"If there was freak weather, for example snow on the ground, they would be forced to stop working and I want to know why a global crisis seems to not apply to those in that industry.

"Many of the workers share vans, toilets, canteens and offices. Many of the jobs they do cannot be carried out safely with the current social distancing advice.

"After the advice given by the PM last night, I cannot fathom how these workers are being told to go ahead. Each one of them that goes out to work brings further risk to those in their households that are doing their best to adhere to the guidelines."

Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson put in place increased social distancing measures, meaning that people should not leave their house, unless for certain reasons.

These including shopping for necessities, one form of exercise a day, caring for vulnerable neighbours or family, and getting to and from work where doing that from home is not possible.

However, there was widespread confusion about what this included, with many builders, plumbers and electricians unsure of whether they were able to go to work.

Now, speaking to the BBC, Mr Gove has confirmed that workers on open-air construction sites will be able to work as usual, although following the relevant social distancing measures.

He said: "If you are attending an emergency in someone's home to ensure they can stay safe in their home then that is appropriate, but there will be some visits which are not essential and people should not undertake those.

"Construction should continue on site and people should exercise sensitivity and common sense and follow the social distancing measures but construction in the open air can continue."

However, the UK construction industry's largest trade associations, the Federation of Master Builders, has called on more clarity from the government.

Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: "Our members want to do the right thing, but the advice coming from Government is anything but clear.

"I am calling on the Government to tell my members, today, whether they can continue to go on site and work."

Mr Berry added that grants to support businesses announced by the government last week should be extended to the construction industry - many of whom are self-employed.

"Small builders cannot work from home, but without cash grants available now, they risk seeing their livelihoods lost.

“Mixed messages are spreading further anxiety at a time when hundreds of small builders face immediate lost earning, having to make their staff redundant, and seeing their companies go to the wall.

"The £25,000 grant must be extended to construction, support is needed for the self-employed which make up 37% of the industry, and applications for the Job Retention Scheme must be brought forward.”