asked the Minister of Transport what is the average time lapse between shipping of freights and payment made by Government Departments.
In general Government Departments make their shipping arrangements through ordinary commercial channels and I am therefore concerned only with freight payments made by my own Department. These are very small in amount and number, and are usually made within a week of the date of receiving claims.
Although the Minister says these cases are very small in number, is he aware that in many cases there is a great deal more delay than one week, and that it is placing some small shipping companies in great difficulty? Is he aware that this is a very bad example for the British Government to set?
Is the hon. Member referring to claims on my own Department? If so, and if he has any specific case in mind, I will look into it. If it affects another Department, he should put the Question to the Minister concerned.
I will put it to one Department or the other.