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Workers’ writes

The General Election may have been and gone, but retentions remains a hot topic in the corridors of Westminster. We reveal how Members can contact their newly-elected local MP to keep up the pressure for change

Since the retentions feature in the last edition of CABLEtalk, there have been some developments. We have had a General Election and the good news is that Alan Brown has been re-elected as MP for Kilmarnock. Alan has already indicated that he intends to use every opportunity in the House of Commons to keep the retentions issue alive.

As we explained in the previous edition, Alan was responsible for introducing the first-ever Bill in the House of Commons on safeguarding cash retentions. Now that the election is done and dusted, CABLEtalk readers are invited to keep the fight going by writing to their newly-elected Westminster MPs.

We’ve made it easy to get your message across in these three steps:


Click here to find out who your local MP is.

Click here to find your MP


Beside the list you will find an example letter to amend as you think appropriate; always include any examples of retentions abuse suffered by your business. A copy of this letter is available here to cut and paste into an email or letter template.


Send your completed letter or email to your local MP – you’ll find their postal or email address at

Before the election, further developments in the retentions and payments battle came in May, when a meeting was held at the offices of Paul Wheelhouse MSP, the Business Minister in Scottish Government.

This important get-together was held to discuss issues around payment and retentions in the construction industry in Scotland.

The meeting was attended by Ken Lewandowski – previously co-chair of the Review of Public Sector Construction – and representatives of SEC Group Scotland, of which SELECT is a leading member.

The Minister was informed that urgent action was required to address the problem of poor practices relating to payment and retentions. He was also told that it was necessary to have a statutory obligation for all payments to be made within 30 days and for all retention monies to be ring-fenced in a separate account. The Minister was generally supportive and was concerned that monies earmarked by Scottish Government for construction or infrastructure was not reaching the supply chain fast enough.

The minister has asked to receive case studies or examples of abuse – here is just one example:

One Scottish-based contractor takes 93 days to pay from application. On the 92nd day, this contractor retains the right to issue a pay less notice. Furthermore, the retention is kept for at least two years after handover. There is also another retention of £5,000 in case of failure to supply all relevant documents.


Have you got any specific examples of payment or retentions abuse? Please email them to Alan Wilson at SELECT at:

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