20 December 2018

SEC Group backs Scottish retentions initiative

The Specialist Engineering Contractors’ (SEC) Group Scotland has welcomed the announcement by Business Minister Jamie Hepburn to consult on curbing the abuse of the retention system.

 The consultation will take place in spring 2019.

Speaking on behalf of SEC Group Scotland (which represents the largest sector by value in Scotland’s construction industry) its chairman, Eddie Myles, said: “This announcement follows representations made by SEC Group Scotland at a meeting of the Cross-Party Group in the Scottish Parliament attended by the Business Minister. He was urged to act now rather than wait for any solution promulgated by the UK government which could take four or five years to come to fruition.”

Alan Wilson, SEC Group’s national executive officer, said that the Scottish government had already been presented with a solution by the co-chairmen of the report entitled Review of Public Sector Construction Procurement, published over five years ago: “The Review recommended that retention monies should be ring-fenced in a trust fund akin to the status accorded to monies held in project bank accounts. We expect the consultation to invite responses on this option.”

Alan Brown, SNP MP for Kilmarnock and Loudoun, who has been campaigning in the UK Parliament for reform of the system, said he was very pleased with this development: “Scottish government is lighter of foot than the UK government which is preoccupied with Brexit. I’d like to see Scottish government legislate within the next couple of years to protect cash retentions. This would help to transform the prospects of every small business in Scotland’s construction industry.”


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