Retention Reform Bill – Fifth attempt at second reading scheduled for 25 January


The long awaited Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill 2017-19 is due to have its second reading before the House of Commons on 25 January.  Do not be surprised though if the timetable slips yet again as this will be the fifth attempt at a second reading since April 2018 with the first four attempts having been postponed four times due to pressures on parliamentary time caused by Brexit.  And with the House of Commons’ running order set to be dominated by Brexit-related issues on 24th January, the day before the second reading of the Bill, further slippage could occur.

The first reading of the Private Members’ Bill met with approval from more than 1 in 4 MPs and provided a glimmer of hope in the industry that the Government was starting to wake up to the industry-wide concerns with cash retentions.  The Bill’s primary purpose is to amend Section 111 of the Construction Act 1996 to impose a mandatory retention deposit scheme on parties in order to address the practice of retentions being kept unlawfully.  Details remain vague and it is envisaged that the scheme itself will be set out in a separate Statutory Instrument. And further progress could be slow because once the second reading is complete the Bill will then proceed to committee stage – where each clause and any amendments to the Bill may be debated before being returned to the Commons for final debate.  And that is before the Bill even gets to the House of Lords.


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