Support for the Aldous Bill continues to grow, with the significant addition of accounting body the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). The Bill seeks to end payments being withheld for unreasonable lengths of time and end the risk of losing retentions via contractor bankruptcy.
AAT are the 80th body to back the Aldous Bill, bringing the businesses and self-employed professionals the Coalition represents to over 550,000. The Coalition includes the FSB, Institute of Directors, British Chambers of Commerce and founding members BESA, ECA and SEC Group.
Conservative MP Peter Aldous introduced a Private Members Bill to put retentions in secure deposit schemes six days before the collapse of Carillion. The Bill now has support from over 150 Conservative, SNP, Plaid Cymru, DUP, Green, Liberal Democrat and Labour MPs.
Peter Aldous MP said: “To have a body from the finance and accounting world on board is great. It confirms the economic value Retention Deposit Schemes would have, the day-to-day benefit it would lead to for thousands of small businesses and the clear industry appetite for reform.
“AAT represent a diverse range of financial experts, from blue-chip corporate giants and public sector institutions to micro-businesses and everything in between. I am very pleased to welcome them as the 80th organisation to back my Bill.”
Mark Farrar, AAT Chief Executive said: “AAT is very pleased to support this much needed and long overdue campaign. Retentions seriously impact on the productivity of SMEs and in some cases their viability. They also serve to increase the overall cost of construction.
“Billions of pounds of SME cash is tied up in retentions that are held for unreasonable amounts of time. That is money which could be better put to use helping SMEs survive, grow and succeed. AAT therefore supports moves to ensure retentions are placed in a Government backed scheme, similar to the way shorthold tenancy deposits are currently saved.”
ECA Deputy Director of Business Policy & Practice, Rob Driscoll, commented: “We are delighted to have one of the UK’s leading accountancy bodies now supporting urgent reform of retentions in construction. The coalition backing reform of payment and retentions has reached unprecedented levels and is without question the real voice of the industry. We urge Government to seize the day and take steps to guarantee reform in the construction industry – a key engine of growth – within this parliament and the long awaited Sector Deal.”
Alexi Ozioro, BESA Public Affairs and Policy Manager said: “Support for the Bill is overwhelming and adding a respected accounting body such as AAT is very telling of the need for change. With the number of cross-party MPs supporting the Aldous Bill, and a clear majority of specialist contactors on board, it is a sign reform is not only needed, but is inevitable.”