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Commercial and Contracts

The ECA works with government and partners to press for equitable business behaviour in the construction industry. In particular, we are focused on ensuring that specialist contractors are paid the full amount due on time, and that cash retentions are not unfairly held up the supply chain.

Fair pay for contracting firms

Payment is a key issue and we work with government and those in the industry supply chain to ensure that they understand the often severe impact of poor payment practices on our members.

Research from the ECA in Autumn 2015 found that many local authorities were still not ensuring their supply chain was paid on time, in contravention of their legal obligations. The ECA is working to ensure greater public sector compliance.

Cash retentions in the supply chain

SMEs are often subjected to cash retentions, which can be as much as 10% and last for periods up to 3 years or more. Any company that experiences excessive payment retention, or other forms of either unfair or slow payment, behaviour is urged to contact their local MP (please ensure the amount due is not disputed).

ECA members can access a template letter by clicking here.

You can find out who your local MP is (and their email address) by entering your firm's postcode at this link -

Peter Aldous MP launched a bill on retentions in the House of Commons on 9 January 2018. The bill's second reading is due to be held on 26 October 2018.

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If you have any questions or issues you wish to raise, please email

Over 200 MPs support Aldous Bill

Over 200 MPs support Aldous Bill

28 Aug 2018

Reforming cash retentions has unprecedented support in Parliament

Network Rail shows “exemplary leadership” on payment

Network Rail shows “exemplary leadership” on payment

22 Jun 2018

Trade bodies applaud Network Rail for commitment to fairer business practices

Industry leaders present petition to PM in post-Carillion show of unity

Industry leaders present petition to PM in post-Carillion show of unity

24 Apr 2018

High profile industry delegation joins Peter Aldous MP to petition Number 10 for urgent reform to payment practices

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