Cash retentions Bill set for first reading

The first reading of a Bill which aims to reform construction’s use of cash retentions will take place today in the House of Commons.

Introduced by Conservative MP Peter Aldous, the Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill has 11 sponsors drawn from all parties and has been backed by three industry associations.

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group (SEC Group), which has been carrying out extensive lobbying to garner support for the Bill, described this as the latest stage in a long-running campaign to tackle the “abuse” associated with the practice of cash retentions in the construction industry.

SEC Group’s CEO, Professor Rudi Klein, said that the Parliamentary campaign began over 15 years ago with the (then) Trade and Industry Committee in the House of Commons being persuaded to launch an inquiry into the practice. The Committee declared the practice to be “unfair” and “outdated”.

Professor Klein added: “We now believe that this latest Private Member’s Bill has a good chance of being properly debated given the extent of cross-party support for the Bill. We must succeed because the industry is losing almost £1m worth of retentions each working day because of insolvencies. This does not take account of the millions of pounds lost by way of the costs associated with waiting years for the release of the monies and chasing up the monies.”

In April 2017 SNP MP Alan Brown laid a similar private member’s bill to protect cash retentions but it was overtaken by the general election.

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