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Lord bows out but SEC fights on for Construction amendments

Lord O'Neill of Clackmannan has withdrawn proposed amendments to the Construction Act, but the chief executive of SEC Group (Specialist Engineering Contractors) has vowed to fight on for amendments.
Amendments to the Construction Act were scheduled to be debated in the House of Lords but Lord O'Neill, president of the SEC Group, has withdrawn his support, leaving chief executive Professor Rudi Klein to knock on the door of every member of the House of Lords.

This morning, Prof. Rudi Klein wrote to more than 100 members of the House of Lords to stress the importance of the amendments which will bring much-needed pay security to small businesses.

Prof. Klein has urged members to pick up the amendments and table them, effectively picking up and rolling the ball dropped by Lord O'Neill.

The House of Lords has been the centre of sleaze allegations in recent weeks, relating to cash for amendments which has led to some Lords to adopt a more cautious approach. Lord O'Neill is paid a fee as SEC president.

Prof. Klein said: 'This was a personal decision by Lord O'Neill. He is not linked to any allegations of sleaze in the House of Lords. These amendments will help small businesses in the industry which is going through a difficult time. Whatever the press focus on sleaze in the House of Lords, I am urging members not to be deterred from supporting the amendments. There is still a chance we could get these amendments if a member of the House supports us'.

The amendments will be debated in the House of Lords within the next fortnight. At the end of February the bill goes to the House of Commons.

Prof. Klein added: 'We are not going to lie down and give up. The SEC group will then step up from fifth gear to tenth gear and go to every member of the House of Commons to tell them the importance of these amendments to the industry'.
28 January 2009

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