Consultation finished on 19 January last year

The business department has declined to say when the government will formally respond to a public consultation on retentions which closed over a year ago.

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the government’s response to the cash retention consultation, which launched in October 2017 and closed on 19 January last year, would be issued in “due course”.

BEIS declined to say whether Brexit was behind the hold-up. 

But a spokesperson added: “The government holds regular meetings with representatives of the construction industry and its clients, to help build a consensus on how to tackle the late and non-payment of retentions.  

“As part of the construction sector deal, we are working to achieve this consensus as soon as possible.”

Brexit has scuppered another attempt to reform retentions, with a private member’s bill aimed at changing the practice having its second reading pushed back five times.

The second reading of Tory MP Peter Aldous’, Construction (Retention Deposit Schemes) Bill 2017-19, has been repeatedly delayed since its first reading last January, with pressures on parliamentary time caused by Brexit being blamed for the slippage.

The bill was due to be heard tomorrow (25 January) but the House of Commons is now not expected to sit as MPs race to find a suitable Brexit deal.