§ Mr. Stephen O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what proportion of small businesses she estimates were forced to take legal action against late or non-payers of debt in the last year for which figures are available. 
§ Nigel Griffiths
A survey by the Royal Bank of Scotland, conducted in January 2004, suggested that up to two fifths of small businesses have taken legal action against a customer for non-payment. The DTI does not make a separate estimate.