The current, unprecedented situation, with citizens around the world confined to their homes and all non-essential business being kept to a minimum, has cast the job of removals in a new light – one that demonstrates just how vital it is, how essential it is, and how it often constitutes an emergency. Not only do we often move people who are in compelling emotional circumstances – including Parkinson’s sufferers – we also help people on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus.  

Today was a case in point. Our customers, a couple, had booked to retrieve their items from storage, since they were moving house. Because this was classed as non-essential work, we contacted them to arrange a later date. However, we then received a call from the wife, in tears, explaining that if she – an NHS worker – and her husband – a policeman – were forced to stay on in their current home, the landlord was going to hit them with a charge of £500, just for exceeding their lease by a couple of days. Neither partner has a big salary, despite the crucial work they do, and a £500 charge on top of the costs for removals and storage retrieval was, she explained, going to bankrupt them, potentially removing them from the workforce while they coped with total insolvency. Suddenly, we saw how the postponement of even supposedly ‘non-essential’ removals work can have devastating consequences. The NHS and the police force would have ended up two people down at a time when the health of the entire nation depends on there being as many people as possible in both of those forms of employment.

We quickly assembled an emergency team, the storage containers were located and delivered to the couple, with the entire job being turned around in two hours. Thanks to our intervention and willingness to move heaven and earth to protect our customers, the couple can now move into their new property and get back to their life-saving work. Our quick action has also prevented their former landlord from profiteering from the couple’s adverse circumstances and the coronavirus.

The suspension of removals work can and will have devastating consequences, whether that’s for clients already in ill health or people who are part of a moving chain and who will incur vast financial losses if they cause a hold-up in the chain. Selling or buying a house through to exchanging and completion is a delicate and complex cycle and, if it’s already set in motion, it is vital that it not be impeded. We are currently following guidelines by not taking on new non critical jobs and shelving some until 20th April, but the health and prosperity of people around the country can be negatively impacted unless removals is recognised as a potential emergency/essential service and we will remain open to people whose move can be described as critical following Government advice issued on 27th March 2020.