Peter Aldous, a chartered surveyor before being elected to parliament in 2010, has tabled a private member’s bill to protect the millions of pounds of cash retentions withheld from construction SMEs. The Ten Minute Rule Bill will seek to amend the 1996 Construction Act and ensure that retentions within construction are held in a third party trust scheme. A key aim will be to help protect companies in the construction supply chain from insolvency and payment uncertainty. The Bill’s first Reading took place on 9 January 2018 and can be viewed via the link on the right.

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Recent research commissioned by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has revealed that £7.8bn worth of retentions was outstanding over a three-year period. Peter Aldous said that he was concerned about the impact on SMEs: “I have been aware of retentions as an issue for a while, and with construction being a tough industry and uncertainty surrounding many aspects of the economy, small businesses need as much support as possible.” He added: “Over the past three years, £700m worth of retention payments to small businesses were lost due to the insolvency of a client, and if a small business suffers from an upstream insolvency of this kind, they are punished twice; firstly with the loss of work, and secondly with the loss of retention money. We, therefore, need action on this before more millions are lost. SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy, which is why they need support and protection. This bill is not about abolishing payment retentions; it is about making sure that people’s money is safe so that businesses can grow and invest in their future.”

Join the campaign – download the FIS letter template and write to your MP to request their support of the Retentions Trust Bill before the second reading which takes place on Friday 15 June.