HC Deb 03 December 1998 vol 321 cc293-4W
Yvette Cooper

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the response by business to legislation on the late payment of interest. [61307]

Mrs. Roche

Late payment has a devastating impact on Britain's small businesses. This Government are determined to improve the UK's payment culture to ensure that small businesses can thrive and prosper.

The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 commenced on 1 November 1998 and provides small suppliers with a statutory right to claim interest on late paid bills and transfers the cost of late payment from the supplier to the late payer.

It is too early to draw conclusions about the impact legislation has had. However, evidence from other European Countries who have introduced legislation shows that effective legislation can tackle late payment, particularly when supported by other measures.