The constructors liaison group has escalated its campaign against cash retentions, with up to 60 MPs signing an early day motion proposing that they be outlawed.
John Nelson, executive secretary of the CLG, said that the number of MPs backing the motion, which was laid down by Tory MP David Tredinnick, did not give a true picture of campaign's parliamentary support. "We've received many letters from MPs supporting the early day motion. We have had 31 already and there are another 30 to be sent in this week," he said.

Nelson added that other MPs intended to show their support by writing direct to Nick Raynsford or the Treasury.

The Local Government Taskforce, a group set up to promote the Egan agenda at council level, has also indicated that it sympathises with the campaign.

In a letter to the CLG, Ted Cantle, chairman of the taskforce, said that it "concluded that retentions were not compatible with the collaborative approach to contract relations, such as partnering, which the taskforce advocates".

Retentions plague the specialist sector. We are determined to make our campaign a success

John Nelson, Constructors Liaison Group

The abolition of retentions, the system whereby a client or main contractor withholds a fixed percentage of a payment until after a job is finished, has long been an aim of subcontractors' trade associations.

Nelson admitted that the early day motion might be delayed by June's general election, but said the CLG was committed to ensuring it would be revived after. "Retentions are an issue that plagues the specialist sector. It may take some time but we are determined to make our campaign a success," he said.

Dundee West MP Ernest Ross also wants the Scottish parliament to consider the abolition of retentions, and the CLG is thought to be keen to take up the issue in Northern Ireland.