Contractors and consultants are refusing to provide financial support for an initiative to monitor the progress of women and ethnic minorities in construction.
Co-founder Helen Stone said although many industry figures appeared to be behind the scheme, none had been willing to back up their words with money.

She said: "Cash is a very important feature. We have received very positive statements of support but they have not been translated into funding." Stone and Sandi Rhys Jones have been running the Change the Face of Construction scheme on a voluntary basis since June last year, when government funding ran out.

Stone said negotiations were continuing with the DETR and the Construction Industry Training Board, which originally provided funding, but they were looking to the industry for the lion's share of the money.

Construction minister Beverley Hughes recently attacked the industry's failure to support the scheme and encourage more women to join the industry.

She said: "The future of the industry depends on this. It is one of the kinds of things industry has to do to convince women that they have a future in the industry.

"These are business issues apart from being moral initiatives." The initiative was launched by the DETR in July 1999 but quickly ran into funding problems and cancelled a conference on minorities in construction later that year.

Insiders admitted the scheme was close to collapse last April.