Latest update on the lift and escalator industry during the pandemic – Nick Mellor, MD of LEIA.
Despite a difficult couple of months, our members have welcomed the recent change in Government guidance allowing them to step up their work supporting clients, owners and users of lifts, escalators and moving walks, lifting platforms, homelift and stairlifts.
During the first phase when many businesses were shut down, members and suppliers rose to the challenge of supporting owners and users who depend on their lifting equipment. Our guidance on essential maintenance work was clear that significant numbers of buildings and users should be supported.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) has been vital to supporting companies and employees during this period. We welcome the extension to the scheme but seek more flexibility in the coming months which can support an increase in activity tailored to clients’ needs. However, in contrast, our members have mostly found the CBILS loan scheme too difficult to use and at the end of April we wrote to the Minister for Business and Industry asking for an urgent reform.
Despite the success of the JRS, cash flow is incredibly tight as the supply chain essentially went in “stasis” or hibernation. Working capital will be vital as the economy gradually starts up hence why extending the JRS is critical. Other measures will be needed from Government to get funds flowing down the supply chain and to cope with the higher costs of working in the new COVID-19 reality.
Ongoing learning & development
It has been positive to see so many in the industry taking advantage of our Distance Learning courses – with an exceptional number starting in May. This has been further boosted with apprentices from the lift and escalator electromechanical Trailblazer apprenticeship.
The LEIA team is busy and fully operational, all now working remotely and using MS Teams to communicate. We provide regular updates to members and maintain a COVID-19 Hub on our website covering Government guidance and reflecting industry positions to Government departments such as BEIS and HSE.
LEIA strongly supports its members as they rise to the challenge during this pandemic to support owners and users who depend on their lifting equipment.