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More than four in 10 companies surveyed in the transport industry said it would take longer than a year to return to pre-COVID-19 levels of work.

The poll of more than 200 companies found that 43% believe it will take longer than 12 months to return to normality, while a further 31% reckoned it would take between nine months and a year.

The survey, by transport solicitors Backhouse Jones, followed an announcement by the government that it would release a series of papers next week outlining its approach on how to safely and gradually restart the economy.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said the UK had passed the peak of the virus outbreak and the government would set out “a comprehensive plan” on how to get the economy back on track.

Trade bodies, businesses and unions have been asked how they think the economy should be restarted and it is thought that the final proposals will be split by working environment rather than sector.

The FTA said it was urging the government to provide clear guidance about the use of PPE in the workplace.

Elizabeth de Jong, FTA policy director said: “A robust, fully functional supply chain is at the heart of any business recovery, and our members are totally committed to getting UK PLC back on its feet after the problems caused by COVID-19.

“But production, manufacturing and logistics will only be able to function effectively if there is confidence that this can be done safely.

“Clear and trusted advice on how to work safely is vital.”

The Backhouse Jones survey also found that 11% think it will take between six and nine months to get back to pre-COVID-19 levels, 12% think it will take between three and six months and 3% less than three months.