§ Mr. Betts
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of bills to his Department were paid(a) in accordance with agreed contractual conditions and (b) within 30 days of receiving goods and services or the presentation of a valid invoice where no contractual conditions applied in the last year for which figures are available. 
§ Sir John Wheeler
Since the implementation of a revised rigorous and consistent method of calculating payment performance from 1 June 1996 by HM Treasury, the Northern Ireland Departments and Northern Ireland Office payment performance in percentage terms are:
Percentage of invoices paid within 30 days or contract payment terms 1 June 1996 to 31 August 1996 94.0 1 september 1996 to 30 November 1996 94.3
The figures for the quarter ending February 1997 are not yet available.