More legal news
21 August 2003 | Colleen Harris
Suppliers are still suffering from late payments with only fractional improvements made within the past six months, according to new research.
But the figures in the largest survey of its kind, from customer relations management company Experian, show companies are not using legislation aimed at preventing late payments.
In the past six months, the average payment time has fallen by one day. However, UK companies still take about 58 days to pay invoices - the same as October 1998, when the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act was introduced.
Electricity firms are the worst, taking 73 days to pay, according to the survey of 225,000 companies in 29 industry sectors.
The gas industry made the biggest improvement, taking around 58 days to pay outstanding bills - almost four days less since November.
A spokesperson for Experian said: "Companies are not taking advantage of their statutory rights to claim interest and impose penalties on organisations to reduce their payment days beyond terms. This would suggest people are not prepared to rock the boat in the relationship with their customers."
A spokesperson at the Department of Trade and Industry said the act was not introduced as a cure but the option was there for companies to use it if they want.