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Members of the delegation and supporters outside the gates of Number 10 Downing Street

Industry leaders urge reform following Carillion losses

The Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA) and the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) – two leading trade associations representing engineering services contractors, have joined forces in an industry delegation with Peter Aldous MP to petition Number 10 for urgent reform to payment practices in the aftermath of the Carillion collapse.

The organisations, which represent some 4,000 businesses with a combined annual turnover of almost £10 billion together cover a broad range of engineering, design, installation and facilities management activity, including electrical, heating, plumbing, energy management, micro-generation, ductwork, ventilation, fire and security, and wireless systems.

Following the Carillion collapse, industry support for urgent reform to payment practices has reached unprecedented levels. Coordinated by BESA, ECA and SEC Group a petition on fair payment and retentions, representing over 355,000 businesses, was delivered yesterday to Prime Minister Theresa May by Peter Aldous MP and a delegation of industry leaders including FSB National Chair Mike Cherry, FMB Chief Executive Brian Berry, Director General of the Institute of Directors Stephen Martin, ECA CEO Steve Bratt and BESA CEO David Frise.

Supporters of the Aldous Bill and the petition on fair payments also gathered outside the gates of Number 10, including business owners directly affected by the collapse of Carillion in January.

The petition urges the Government to back reform of payment practices and retentions and comes just days before the second reading of the ‘Aldous Bill’ (Friday 27 April), which proposes cash retentions be held in trust accounts, to protect the supply chain.

The Bill is supported by over 120 MPs and 76 industry trade bodies, representing over 355,000 companies and many self-employed professionals. Cross-party support for reform includes Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, SNP, DUP, Plaid Cymru and the Green Party. Support has also been given from across the construction supply chain, including house building, roofing, scaffolding, electrical, heating, plumbing, interiors and demolition.

Peter Aldous MP commented: “This is an unprecedented opportunity to improve the industry for the better, level the playing field for SMEs and protect thousands and thousands of jobs. Construction is an essential underpinning of our lives and work, and we need to support the industry and especially SMEs to ensure future growth and prosperity. The industry loses around £1 million for each working day, mostly from SMEs. There have been proposals to stop the abuse of retentions before, but this time there is the largest coalition on fair payments ever.”

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