Since the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill 2008 (the Bill) was published last year, a number of amendments to its construction provisions have been proposed (see blog post). At the end of the committee stage in the House of Lords, the Government made it clear that it would not support any of the proposed amendments. In response, all of the amendments were withdrawn or not formally proposed (see blog post).
The Bill is now reaching the end of the report stage (the last day of reading is scheduled for 22 April). However, it seems that those who want changes to its construction provisions – most prominantly, the Specialist Engineering Contractor’s Group (SEC) – are not prepared to let matters lie. Once again, a number of amendments have been proposed by Lords Borrie and Tope and Baroness Hamwee. While some of the detail differs from earlier proposed amendments, identical proposals have been put forward in relation to upstream insolvency and the right for either party to request that the other party provides payment security at any time (in the form of a bank guarantee or bond).
The third reading of the Bill in the House of Lords is scheduled for 29 April 2009. This will be the final review of the contents of the Bill in the House of Lords. Amendments can be made at third reading, provided the issue has not already been voted on at an earlier stage. At the end of the debate, the House decides whether to approve the third reading of the Bill. If it is successful, the Bill will move on to its first reading in the House of Commons.
Given the level of opposition to these amendments so far, it is unlikely that they will form part of the Bill that moves to the House of Commons.