HC Deb 04 April 1940 vol 359 cc320-1
74. Mr. Salt

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that outstanding Treasury accounts due to contracting firms continue to be delayed in settlement causing inconvenience and dissatisfaction; and will he investigate the cause of non-payment of these bills which also affects the receipts of Income Tax under the various schedules?

75. Mr. De la B Bère

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether in connection with small manufacturers and traders, who are endeavouring to carry through contracts for the Government, he can give some assurance that he will expedite the settling of accounts with those creditors, both small and large, whose accounts have not yet been settled?

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Captain Crookshank)

I am aware that cases of delay in the final settlement of contractors' accounts continue to arise, but the institution of a system of generous progress payments during the currency of a contract, to which I referred in my reply to the hon. Member for Yardley (Mr. Salt) on 8th February, has the effect of reducing to a minimum the balance payable on final settlement, and I am confident that causes of justifiable complaint will rapidly diminish as experience is gained by the staffs of the contractors themselves and of the purchasing Departments of State.

Mr. De la Bère

Does my right hon. and gallant Friend realise that there is at the present time a considerable volume of justifiable complaints and is he not sympathetic to these difficulties? The little man is in very great difficulty to-day.

Captain Crookshank

I am always sorry for the little man, but the procedure I have outlined in my reply will deal with his case just as with the case of the big man.

Mr. De la Bère

Perhaps my right hon. and gallant Friend will read the "Daily Express." He will learn a lot about it there.