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‘Shut down unsafe building sites …and give Tube travellers space’

Safety fears: Construction workers at a site in London yesterday PICTURE: REUTERS

CALLS have been made for building sites to be shut down due to fears that staff do not have enough space to obey social distancing rules.

The British Safety Council said all non-essential construction work should be stopped because it was ‘impossible or simply unsafe’ for employees to keep two metres apart in many cases.

At a building site in London, with up to 500 workers, a crane operator said that if he did not go in, he ‘wouldn’t get paid or could even lose my job’. He added: ‘Everyone on site feels angry and unprotected.’

Crammed: London Underground PICTURE: TRIANGLE

London mayor Sadiq Khan told ITV’s Good Morning Britain he had ‘quite forcibly’ urged a ban during Monday’s Cobra meeting but had been overruled. No.10 said his fears were unfounded and it ‘should continue where it can happen’. Workers should ‘use their common sense’ and ‘practice safe social distancing on site’.

Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancock criticised Mr Khan and Transport for London yesterday for cutting Tube trains, which he said had led to overcrowding on the network.

Mr Hancock said: ‘TfL should have the Tube running in full so that people travelling on the Tube are spaced out and can be further apart — obeying the two-metre rule wherever possible.’

But a spokeswoman for Mr Khan said: ‘Nearly a third of staff are already absent — there aren’t enough drivers and control staff to do it.’