HC Deb 17 June 2002 vol 387 cc21-2W
Gareth Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received on the practice of retentions in the construction industry. [58140]

Mr. Wilson

Since taking over responsibility for sponsoring the construction industry after the general election in June 2001, Ministers at the Department of Trade and Industry have received 83 letters supporting early-day motion number 428 on the practice of retentions in the construction industry.

The use of retentions is commonplace, resulting from adversarial relationships between the players in the industry, and allegations about defects and poor quality of work.

DTI is taking a range of steps to address the root causes. "Rethinking Construction" sets out a change process that should lead to fewer defects, and hence progressively reduce the need for retentions. DTI has undertaken considerable work to support constructive procurement principles. However this issue will only be fully resolved when the whole construction industry changes by providing quality, defect-free work that fully meets the needs of contractors and clients.