News | Ritchie calls for action on cash retentions

Ritchie calls for action on cash retentions

SDLP MP for South Down, Margaret Ritchie, has called for changes to the Enterprise Bill at Westminster to prevent businesses losing millions of pounds each year through cash retentions.

She said, “In 2015 Northern Irish businesses lost £40m through an out-dated and ill-suited cash retention system. It is putting serious strain on many local small and medium sized businesses, and as it stands this won’t change for another ten years.

“The Government’s long overdue review of the retention system aims to eliminate these losses by 2025. That is simply not soon enough for many small businesses who will continue to lose money through upstream insolvencies or by becoming so frustrated by this inefficient and bureaucratic system that they give up trying to recover their money.

“The Secretary of State for BIS has an opportunity to take action on this by amending the Enterprise Bill to introduce a statutory scheme that will ensure that deposits are released within a year of handover of the work. Until retentions are eliminated, the Government must ensure that this money, belonging to small businesses is ring-fenced in a protected account. I will be writing to the Secretary of State about this issue.

“The industry is also facing constraints through delays in the reinstatement of the very successful Aggregates Levy Scheme. Legal impediments, like that of the British Aggregates Association challenging the EU decision, risk plunging the industry into an unsustainable financial situation. I have written to Minister Damien Hinds requesting a meeting about this matter.

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