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Departmental Procurement

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of invoices for goods and services procured from small and medium-sized businesses were paid within 10 days of receipt by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which his Department is responsible in (i) 2006-07 and (ii) 2007-08; and if he will make a statement. (243352)

The core-Department's terms of payment for all valid, correctly rendered invoices submitted to the correct address(es) are 'within 30 days' or as otherwise contractually agreed, irrespective of organisational size.

On 8 October, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a statement to the House that, in the current climate, the Government will aim to make SME payments within 10 days.

DEFRA, along with other central Government Departments, is aiming to pay all suppliers as soon as possible with the aim of bringing forward all approved payments to within 10 days. DEFRA is compiling 10 day payment performance figures for the month of November 2008 for BERR who will publish the data for November and December in due course. Commencing April 2009, 10 day payment performance will be reported quarterly.

For the financial years 2006-07 and 2007-08 the core-department's financial system records 10 day payment performance as 23.6 per cent. and 30. per cent. respectively (in comparison to 89.8 per cent. and 92 per cent. for 30 day payment performance).