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Industry speaks out on Aldous Bill

Both SEC Group and FETA have spoken out in support of the cash retentions Bill, which received its first reading in Parliament on 09 January.

The Bill seeks to amend the 1996 Construction Act to ensure retention money is held in a deposit protection scheme.

SEC Group has said the Bill is just the latest stage in a long-running campaign to tackle the abuse associated with the practice of cash retentions in the construction industry.

The Group’s chief executive, Professor Rudi Klein, said 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 The Committee declared the practice to be “unfair” and “outdated”.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.”

Following the reading of the Bill, introduced by Peter Aldous MP, FETA also issued a statement of support. Chief executive Russell Beattie said: “We have fully supported this initiative. Retention payments are a deeply contentious matter for many of our members and the fact this Bill has received support across parliament suggests it is beginning to gain the attention it warrants. FETA will continue to work alongside other trade associations to ensure the reform reaches a satisfactory conclusion for all parties.

“In parallel to this Bill, the Government currently has a consultation running on payment practices in the construction industry and we remain convinced that legislation is the only way forward as relying simply on voluntary improvements is no more likely to succeed now than it has in the past.”                                 

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