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Over 100 MPs back retentions bill

UK: Over 100 MPs have pledged support for the industry’s call for the ring-fencing of retention monies in the construction industry.

Political support for holding cash retentions in trust is said to heave soared in recent weeks, with over 100 MPs already in favour of ring-fencing of retention monies. Cross-party support for retentions reform includes Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. Supporting MPs represent constituencies covering the whole of the UK.

Prominent supporters include; Labour frontbench, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, shadow BEIS minister Rebecca Long-Bailey, Conservative MP and former chancellor Kenneth Clarke, former digital economy minister Ed Vaizey, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.

An Early Day Motion tabled by James Frith MP on January 23 received signatures from 61 MPs, calling on Government to introduce new legislative proposals to put retentions in deposit protection schemes. Alongside the initial 12 co-sponsoring MPs of the so-called Aldous Bill, BESA, ECA and SEC Group have received confirmation from other MPs that has taken the list of supporters over 100.

Supporting MPs have increased by a factor of ten since Carillion collapsed in January, six days after the first reading of the Aldous Bill. The second reading of the bill is due to take place on April 27.

Describing industry support as being at “unprecedented levels”, Peter Aldous MP said: “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 petition being presented represents over 330,000 businesses and there are over 100 of my parliamentary colleagues that support reform to the practice of cash retentions.”

“We have a golden opportunity to improve the industry for the better, level the playing field for SMEs and protect thousands and thousands of jobs. 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.”

In the wake of the Carillion collapse, a coalition of over 75 bodies (representing over 340,000 businesses) has united behind Peter Aldous’ retentions reform efforts, proposing that cash retentions owed to the supply chain are held in trust. A delegation from this coalition will join Peter Aldous next week to present a petition to 10 Downing Street.

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