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Retentions Bill second reading delayed until June

27 April 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

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The second reading of a Private Members’ Bill designed to do away with the construction industry’s existing retentions system has been delayed until June.

The Aldous Bill was due to be discussed in Parliament today but its second reading will now take place on 15 June.

Conservative MP Peter Aldous and the Bill’s backers decided to seek a new date for the second reading to avoid it being abandoned amid a congested parliamentary schedule.

A Private Members’ Bill can be introduced by members of the House of Commons or House of Lords who are not ministers, but less parliamentary time is given to such bills and as a result, only a minority become law.

Nonetheless, the Aldous Bill, which calls for cash retentions to be held in trust accounts to protect the supply chain, has the support of over 120 MPs and 76 trade bodies.

Last week, a collective of specialist construction industry trade bodies and MPs presented a petition calling for urgent reform of payment practices to Number 10 Downing Street.

The petition was organised by the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA), Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and Specialist Engineering Contractors (SEC) Group.

Aldous said of his Bill: “This is an unprecedented opportunity to improve the industry for the better, level the playing field for SMEs and protect thousands and thousands of jobs.

“Construction is an essential underpinning of our lives and work, and we need to support the industry and especially SMEs to ensure future growth and prosperity.

“The industry loses around £1m for each working day, mostly from SMEs. There have been proposals to stop the abuse of retentions before, but this time there is the largest coalition on fair payments ever.”

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