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Small Businesses

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 3 March 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will review the need for legislation to assist small businesses to obtain prompt payment of bills; and if he will make a statement.

I have no plans at present to introduce prompt payment legislation, but I am keeping the issue under close review. Though I understand the frustrations felt by small businesses because of delayed payments, I remain to be convinced that legislation would be effective. The majority of organisations representing small firms share the Government's view that the effect of a legislative approach would be, at best, minimal and could even be damaging to the small firms sector. I have made it known, however, that I would be interested to receive views on how an effective legislative framework might operate.This Department will continue to address late payment through a strategy of persuasion and education and, in addition to a number of measures already in place, I am considering what further initiatives may be appropriate.