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Reporting winnings monthly is to change

THE GOVERNMENT has moved to close a loophole that had threatened to seriously skew its figures for construction orders.

At a meeting of senior Government and industry economists last month, guidelines were laid down for the way companies should report winning of work to the Government.

Currently, major contractors make a monthly submission to the Department for Trade and Industry detailing contracts they have won that are worth more than £25,000.

But with the increase in use of long-term framework and bundled deals it was recognised that reporting their full value in one month could dangerously misrepresent the amount of work being carried out by the industry.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association's chief economist Jim Turner, who represented the group at the meeting, said: 'This had the potential to be problematic as these figures are used by the Government, contractors and financial forecasters so errors could have a great effect.

'A firm may say it has a seven-year framework worth £200 million. But there is no guarantee that it will all come through. Firms should now report constituent jobs separately only when they get the order to carry out the work.'

No date has been set for the guidelines to come into use but it is hoped that they will be up and running in the next couple of months.