H&V News is spearheading a campaign to tackle the thorny issue of retentions - one signature at a time
Readers of H&V News have long complained about the negative impact, ranging from cash flow problems to complete failure of businesses, caused by retentions over the course of many years.
This was the reason for the launch of our Time for Change campaign two weeks ago, coinciding with the publication of an exclusive interview with DSL operations director Martin Burton (on page 21 of our 19 November digital issue). The day of the campaign’s launch also coincided with Debbie Abrahams MP proposing an amendment to the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill for the protection of retentions within construction industry contracts.
Following these two announcements, further publicity about the problems caused by retentions can be seen in our coverage of the dispute between Costain and TEG (on page 3 for our 3 December digital issue).
Having failed to gain payment on any of the 2.8m retentions outstanding within its Greater Manchester waste contract, TEG suspended the trading of its shares on London’s AIM exchange and said it plans to look at selling off its operating division.
H&V News contacted a number of contractors prior to the launch of Time for Change and received universal approval. A number of people gave graphic details of the serious issues caused by retentions clauses in the past, including the complete loss of these when the main contractor had gone into administration before the sum could be paid.
During these conversations, two contractors stated that retentions account for 2m in revenue within their contracts every year, emphasising the fact that billions of pounds remain unprotected in the construction industry.
Our government e-petition requires 100,000 signatures to drive a Parliamentary debate on this subject. There is a further degree of urgency surrounding this, as all online petitions will be closed at the end of March next year in preparation for the general election.
H&V News is therefore urging all readers to sign the petition as soon as possible, then discuss the campaign with all their colleagues, industry contacts and associations to ensure the message is spread as widely as possible.
Industry associations that have so far pledged their support for the Time for Change campaign include the B&ES, SEC Group, APHC, ICOM, BEAMA and FETA.
Additional conversations are ongoing with other industry bodies and government representatives, with social media playing an important part - especially LinkedIn and Twitter. Further to the above, the directors of A1 Flue Systems are encouraging their industry contacts to approach their local Chamber of Commerce to encourage more people to pledge their support.