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Commercial Debtors

Volume 202: debated on Tuesday 21 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will seek powers to require commercial debtors to settle outstanding accounts within the agreed terms of the credit account concerned or to pay interest on the sums outstanding.

I have no plans to seek powers to impose interest charges on outstanding commercial debts. I am aware that late payment of debt is a problem, particularly for the small firms sector. The evidence that statutory interest would improve payment practices is, however, far from conclusive and I remain to be convinced that a legislative approach would be both effective and administratively practical.I am, nevertheless, keeping the matter under close review and I am interested to see views on how an effective and practical legislative framework might operate.