Scottish Government urged to appoint construction regulator to protect SMEs on late payment

SELECT MD Darrell Matthews

Scotland’s electrotechnical trade campaigning body has called on the Scottish Government to learn from the collapse of Carillion by appointing a Chief Construction Advisor (CCA) to regulate aspects of the construction industry, most urgently on the issue of late payment.

While acknowledging that Holyrood has already made some progress on public sector procurement issues, SELECT, whose member companies account for over 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland, argues that yet more needs to be done.

Darrell Matthews, MD of SELECT, said: “The collapse of Carillion sent shockwaves through the UK construction sector. Whilst Scotland was perhaps in a better position than the rest of the UK, we believe that the Scottish Government should treat this as a wake-up call and put protections in place.

“Our members believe that the appointment of a CCA, acting as a ‘construction tsar’, to enforce already existing legal protections by ensuring repeated late payers are identified, monitored and if necessary, punished, would be a clear signal of intent by the Scottish Government.”

The appointment of a regulator was recommended in the 2013 Review of Scottish Public Sector Procurement in Construction review, and SELECT’s calls have been echoed by a number of MSPs, including Labour’s Monica Lennon.

“There needs to be full recognition that the construction sector is a key driver of Scottish growth and that given the sheer volume of public sector construction contracts, the Scottish Government needs to be certain that public money is going to responsible, well-managed SMEs,” said Mr Matthews.

Recent campaigning has seen SELECT’s head of membership and communication, Alan Wilson, address Holyrood’s Cross Party Group for Construction, on a number of measures, including the payment, packaging of contracts and retentions.


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