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Issue:- 25/26 November 2009

Small Business Minister Calls on Business to Follow Government Lead and Pay on Time

THE public sector prompt payment is making a real difference to business cash flow, Lord Davies said today. But the Minister for Trade, Investment and Small Business challenged both big business and suppliers to play their role to ensureprompt payment. Better invoicing, customer relationship management and prompt payment build confidence throughout supply chains.

Nineteen out of twenty central government invoices are now paid within ten days – an improvement of 24 percentage points since November 2008. £73 billion has been paid to business within ten days by central government since June 2009.

The wider public sector has also seen improvements in payment performance. The Forum of Private Business reported this month that the average payment time for local authorities in England is now eighteen days, with 42% of all invoices paid within ten days.

Latest data collated by Experian shows that UK payment periods are now the shortest recorded since April 2008.

However, Lord Davies challenged the private sector to make stronger efforts to support small businesses in the current economic climate by ensuring swift payment. Twenty-two of the FTSE 100 have so far signed up to the Government’s Prompt Payment Code, launched by Lord Mandelson in December 2008. They are joined by over 640 other signatories, all committed to ensuring they pay suppliers within agreed terms.

Writing to the FTSE100 companies not yet signed up to the Code, Lord Davies said:- “Late payment creates uncertainty in the supply chain and carries a significant cost to UK business. In 2009 it is anticipated that UK business will pay approximately £180 million in interest on overdue payments. That’s £180 million of potential investment lost. Being a Code signatory sends a very simple but very powerful message – we pay on time.”

Analysis of supplier invoices held by Experian indicates that suppliers can help improve speed of payment themselves by invoicing correctly and on time. All too often the basics of good business are missed and perfectly profitable companies fail. Over 100,000 copies of the Institute of Credit Management’s Managing Cash Flow guides have been downloaded this year. The guides provide a quick reference to the basics of customer, invoicing and cash flow management.

Lord Davies added:- “Visible leadership on prompt payment by Government and our most influential companies is important to small business. Government is playing its part - but every part of the supply chain must help ensure prompt payment.”

Matthew Goodman, Policy Representative at the Forum of Private Business (FPB):- “With FPB members in almost every level of the supply chain, we understand how vital it is that the message gets out about how paying late can harm struggling suppliers. Keeping cash flowing is the biggest concern for many small- and medium-sized businesses, and logically, best practice should start at the top of the supply chain. That is why we believe that the FTSE 250 should demonstrate their leadership in the market and become signatories to the Prompt Payment Code. Just as important, though, must be the support for those small businesses who are most affected by late payment. A busy business sometimes has trouble with the basics - checking out potential customers, invoicing on time and chasing payments - which can pushes up their costs and lead to a greater reliance on finance. That's why we are working to make sure that there is protection and better training out there for businesses struggling to keep track of their cash-flow."

Philip King, Chief Executive of the Institute of Credit Management:- “The importance of prompt payment as a central part of ‘treating customers fairly’ cannot be overstated. It is paramount in maintaining a healthy and productive relationship between customer and supplier, and it is most encouraging to see the first tangible signs that the government’s initiatives with the ICM are beginning to bear fruit.”

The Code is just one of a number of Government measures aimed at establishing a better payment culture and follows on from a commitment made by the Prime Minister in October to pay all central Government suppliers within ten days.

Climate change - are we getting the full story?

THE Scibar is back on Tuesday, 1 December 2009, with an evening of discussion about Climate change.

Dr Neil Gavin, of Liverpool University’s Politics Department, will discuss the portrayal of climate change science in the media and its political implications. Is climate change really happening? Are we getting the full story? And what are the implications for society? Come along and discuss your thoughts on what could be the most important topic facing humanity today. Media reporting of scientific and economic issues is always a hot topic for discussion and should make for a very interesting evening.

SciBar is literally science in a bar, or in this case the fabulous Ship and Mitre pub. It is a regular event organised by The British Science Association. At each Scibar an expert from a different scientific field gives an introductory presentation on something fascinating or topical about their work, and then the floor is open to discussion, debate and questions, where the scientist will be on hand to contribute information. No questions are considered silly questions! There’s no need to be an expert, as Scibar is designed to be informal and is aimed at those with no prior knowledge - just an interest in science and the world around them.

When:- Tuesday, 1 December 2009, (and the first Tuesday of every month).

Time:- 7:30 pm

Where:- Ship & Mitre (upstairs function room), 113 Dale Street, Liverpool, L2 2JH

Cost:- Free admission



MERSEYSIDE Police are looking for two men who stole an appointments book containing cash and cheques worth around £4,000 from a hairdressers in Wavertree, Liverpool. A young female customer at the shop in Wavertree Road had been talking to the men earlier when they had been loitering near the doorway. She later paid for her hair cut and, because the shop till was broken, staff gave her change from the appointments book where they were keeping the takings. After she left, the two men came into the shop and as one held the door open, the other man brandished a knife and grabbed the book containing the money. The man who took the book ran off across Taskers car park nearby and the other ran down Wavertree Road, towards the police station. The appointments book is A4 size, dark blue and contains the contact details of clients and the store owner is very keen to get it back. The incident happened on 4 November 2009, at 4.25pm and anyone with any information is asked to call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on:- 0800 555 111. 


MERSEYSIDE Police Detectives are appealing for witnesses to come forward after a 23 year old man was shot outside Bet Fred bookmakers on Belle Vale Road, Belle Vale, Liverpool, on the evening of Monday, 23 November 2009.  Officers were called at around 5.50pm following reports of a shooting. It is believed that the victim was talking to another man outside the betting shop when he was approached by the offender, who fired a shotgun at him. The victim was taken to hospital suffering from pellet wounds to his legs and has since been discharged. The offender is believed to have been about 5ft 8in tall and was wearing dark clothing and a balaclava. At this early stage of the investigation the motive for the incident is unclear. Crime Scene Investigators have carried out forensic examinations at the scene and CCTV footage is being examined.  House-to-house enquiries will be carried out and police patrols have been stepped up in the area to reassure the community. Anyone who witnessed this incident or who has any information is urged to contact the Matrix team on:- 0151 777 5699, the gun crime hotline on:- 0800 458 1211, or Crimestoppers on:- 0800 555 111.

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