Senior industry personnel joined trade association officers and others in a highly focused debate at the B&ES headquarters, driven by the H&V News Time for Change campaign.
Chaired by Lord O’Neill of Clackmannan, SEC Group chairman, the list of attendees also included MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth Debbie Abrahams.
Ms Abrahams had coincidentally proposed an amendment to the Small Business Bill on 19 November last year, during its second reading in Parliament, to address the issue of retentions and their frequent negative effects on SMEs.
Within the main discussion, calls were heard for more accountability and clarity within contracts.
B&ES president Andy Sneyd has also written in his regular blog about the issue of payment, which he says remains an impediment to the supply chain reforms needed to deliver more added value for end clients: “If a company is capable of delivering on its promises, performs to professional standards and communicates clearly with its supply chain partners, then there is no reason to withhold payment from them. Sadly, not all contractors are like that.”
This is why the H&V News campaign ‘Time for Change has received the full backing of B&ES. The campaign has set out to secure 100,000 signatures on the online a petition to force a parliamentary debate about the issue of placing retention money into trust.
Mr Sneyd said: “This would be a crucial change because it would remove the commercial advantage gained by those who currently hang on to retentions as a means of increasing their own profit at the expense of their suppliers.
“Withholding money from competent contractors who have met their obligations is theft – so I would urge you all to sign the petition. However, so is taking money from clients under false pretences. We signatories to the campaign realise we have to tackle both.”