§ Lord Harrison
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What has been the impact of the Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998; and whether they will adopt the new elements in the European Union Late Payment Directive which enables such firms to charge recovery costs and other incidentals on top of lost interest from those firms and institutions which pay late. [HL1605]
§ The Minister for Science, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)
We have continued to monitor payment times in the UK since the introduction of the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998. Recent surveys have provided encouraging signs of improvement. Research published by Dun and Bradstreet last month shows that UK companies are now the second fastest in Europe for paying their bills on time. Prior to the introduction of the legislation, the UK held fourth place in the league of fastest paying European countries.
In line with Cabinet Office best practice requirements, the Small Business Service published a consultation document concerning the implementation of Directive 2000/35/EC in February 2001. This document sets out the proposed approach and a number of implementation options, including how we adopt the new right to claim reasonable compensation for all relevant recovery costs.