Over 100 MPs express support for ring-fencing of retentions cash
Political support for holding cash retentions in trust has 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 well-known names from politics, including Labour front bench, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, Shadow BEIS Minister Rebecca Long-Bailey, Conservative ‘Father of the House’ 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 23rd received signatures from 61 MPs, calling on Government to introduce new legislative proposals to put retentions in deposit protection schemes.
Alongside the initial 12 cosponsoring MPs of the ‘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 Friday 27 April.
Peter Aldous MP says: “Industry support for reform to outdated payment systems is at unprecedented levels, for which I am very grateful. 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.”
ECA director of business Paul Reeve said: “Carillion’s collapse highlighted serious supply chain and procurement problems in construction, which need an urgent remedy.
“Reforming the payment and cash retention systems is an essential requirement for protecting smaller businesses, ensuring the successful future of the UK construction industry, and for sustainable economic growth.”
David Frise, CEO of BESA said: “The urgent need for reform is clear from the cross-party support the Aldous Bill has.
“The impact from lost Carillion retention money on apprentices, jobs and investment in the sector is already evident. Holding cash retentions in trust will make sure that the money is safe and does what it is intended to do.”
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 on 25th April to present a petition directly to 10 Downing Street.
In his Spring Statement of April 2018 Chancellor Philip Hammond vowed to crack down on late payment culture by issuing a call for evidence on how “the continuing scourge of late payments” can be eliminated. See our News Analysis (April)