THE Tories are coming under more pressure to shut down non-essential construction sites.

Building bosses in Scotland say there is currently a two-tiered system operating, with some firms following Nicola Sturgeon’s advice and closing down, while others continue to work, waiting for Downing Street to rule it out.

Yesterday, Sandy Adam, the chairman of Springfield Properties tweeted: “We have taken the advice of @NicolaSturgeon and are closing all our building sites until further notice. It’s not useful to have conflicting advice from UK govt ministers. The safety of our employees must come first.”

Vaughan Hart, managing director of the Scottish Building Federation demanded support for the sector, including more details on how firms could access the Government’s coronavirus job retention scheme.

“Many construction companies in Scotland are already abiding by the First Minister’s recommendation but the disparity between UK and Scottish governments advice is adding to the confusion, making it more difficult to put some of the support measure proposed for businesses into context,” he said.

“Unlike those who have voluntarily closed in other sectors, there is no specific support available for construction despite us being at the very heart of the economy, along with continued ambiguity for workers as to how the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will operate in practice.

“Similarly, there has been no indication yet of support, for example via business rates, which would be particularly helpful for the construction sector at this time.

“So, whilst we urge clarity on how the Government wants the construction industry to act, we also need to understand better how this critical sector will be supported through the economic downturn we are experiencing which will only get worse.”

Yesterday in the Commons Jeremy Corbyn told MPs of Dan, a London-based construction worker suffering from coronavirus who had told LBC radio he had no choice but to turn up and work.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Question, the Labour leader said: “We heard on the radio a call from a self- employed construction worker who said that he had contracted coronavirus, he was suffering from it, and had no other option but to get on the London Tube and go onto a site to work, obviously putting himself and all other passengers and all other workers on that site at risk.

“Why was he doing it? His ite had not been closed down, he had no other source of income to feed his family. So he is going to work, making all of us be more at risk as a result. Can the Prime Minister be absolutely clear and give unequivocal guidance that construction work and non-emergency work should stop now?”

However, the PM would only say that people should work at home “unless they must go to work and cannot do work from home”, adding: “What we are saying is unless you need to leave the house for exercise, for medical reasons or buy essential supplies, is to stay at home, and save lives.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has also called on construction workers to stay at home: “You can’t keep a safe distance on sites.”