The review of the Construction Act faces further delays, which will prevent it from becoming law until early next year.

A source close to the DTI select committee said the second consultation on the act would not be completed until the summer, with legislation pencilled in for early next year.

Mark Prisk, the shadow construction minister, is now calling on his opposite number, Margaret Hodge, to let the industry know when changes to the act will become law.

Prisk said: “The government seems incapable of making a decision. It begs the question whether it takes construction seriously.”

The decision in the House of Lords that allowed George Wimpey to withhold payment to subcontractor Melville Dundas, because the firm had gone into administration, makes the changes to the act more pressing.

In the Lords’ first judgment on the act, the law lords clarified the meaning of section 111 of the act, which protects against withheld payments.

A spokesperson for the DTI said: “The consultation will be happening shortly, but until then we can’t say whether the legislation will go through this year or next.”