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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Thousands of local businesses are set to benefit from legislation signed this week.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Meg Munn, Labour and Co-operative MP for Sheffield Heeley is outlining to business constituents and other organisations, the new rights which were signed in law this week and take effect from 7 August.

"We are honouring our promise to review our 1998 legislation and bring in further improvements. Some local businesses in Sheffield are hammered by suppliers who fail to pay on time. Now they will be able to get their legal costs paid and interest paid at a set rate. I am contacting as many local businesses as possible to advise them of their rights."

This support is welcomed by Nigel Griffiths MP, the DTI Minister responsible for Small Businesses. "Meg Munn has been a strong supporter of legislation to tackle late payment - even when other Parties opposed it."

The new legislation gives:

  • A new right to claim interest for late payment
  • A new right to claim a fixed sum of compensation to cover debt recovery costs and
  • A new right to have a trade federation or appropriate organisation represent you and challenge any attempt to contractually reduce your right to statutory interest.

The Federation of Small Business represents 167,000 SMEs and its National Policy Officer Stephen Alambritis says: "I am glad the Government is listening to our members - listening and acting. The new measures are an important contribution to tackling a late-payment culture."

Small businesses can get more information at www.sbs.gov.uk


The new law reinforces Labour’s landmark Late Payment of Commercial Debts 1998 legislation which gave businesses and organisation:

  • the right for the first time to claim interest from irresponsible late payers
  • set up the Better Payment Practice Group involving all the main Small Business bodies to work to make the UK’s payment culture the best
  • launched the Better Payment Practice Code and a logo for good-paying businesses
  • supported the FSB’s league tables of bad payers
  • ensured 1,128 signatories to the Code, including all government departments
  • set Central Government target of 100% for payment on time.

This year’s European Business Survey from Grant Thornton confirms that

  • the average time to pay invoices has fallen by almost 20% - down from 50 days before our landmark legislation to 41 days now
  • the EU average is currently 50 days, as against the UK’s 41 days.
  • The Credit Management Research Centre says that only 45% of customers paid at or near the due date in 1998. By 2000, the figure reached 60%

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