The ‘ayes’ have it! Retentions Bill passes first reading
The so-called Aldous Bill, which seeks to amend the 1996 Construction Act and ensure that retentions are held in a deposit scheme, passed its First Reading in Parliament yesterday unopposed. This means that the Construction Retention Deposit Schemes Bill will now move to its second reading, scheduled for 27 April.
The Bill was presented by Peter Aldous, Member of Parliament for Waveney, and had the full complement of 12 Parliamentary co-sponsors. These co-sponsors represented the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Scottish National Party, Democratic Unionist Party and the Green Party, showing a clear cross-party support for the Bill that may encourage official government support. The sponsoring MPs also cover England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland:
Peter Aldous MP (Conservative), Waveney
Sir Henry Bellingham MP (Conservative), North West Norfolk
Alan Brown MP (Scottish National Party), Kilmarnock & Loudoun
Kevin Hollinrake, (Conservative), Thirsk & Malton
Eddie Hughes, (Conservative), Walsall North
David Jones, (Conservative) Clwyd West
Caroline Lucas MP (Green), Brighton Pavilion
Barry Sheerman MP (Labour), Huddersfield
David Simpson MP (Democratic Unionist Party), Upper Bann
Sir Mike Penning (Conservative), Hemel Hempstead
Dr Daniel Poulter MP (Conservative), Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
Ed Vaizey MP (Conservative), Didcot & Wantage
The full transcript of Peter Aldous’ speech can be seen here in Hansard.
So what next?
The next step for the Bill is the second reading, which is where a relevant Government minister, spokesperson or the MP responsible for the Bill will open a debate. This gives the official Opposition an opportunity to respond with their views on the Bill, but there is clear Labour Party support already on record for retentions reform.
The debate will continue with other Opposition parties and backbench MPs allowed to give their opinions both in favour and against. At the end of the debate, the House of Commons decides whether the Bill should be given its second reading by holding another vote to decide whether it can proceed to the next stage.
It is possible for a Bill to have a second reading with no debate, so long as MPs agree to its progress, and this usually happens when a Bill is officially supported by the Government. After the second reading comes the committee stage - where the Bill is scrutinised. This means that every clause, line and any proposals for change to the Bill will be meticulously examined and debated.
The most important thing that a Bill needs in order to become a law is time. Parliamentary time is valuable, with every MP wanting to raise their own issues and causes and urgent debates tabled like the recent BBC Pay or Parole Board Transparency debates. The Government also has an agenda that they want to push through, we have Brexit legislation to manage and as always there may be unexpected developments that need time in Parliament.
This is where BESA and the other supporters of the Bill will be lobbying Government and a range of politicians to ensure that the Bill gets the time it needs for a second reading. Members will be kept up to date on the Bill’s developments, but in the meantime are encouraged to respond to the Government’s consultation on retentions.
A large number of responses, all calling for action and reform of retentions, will give the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy a clear message that change needs to come. It is clear messages like this that make our voices heard in Government.