21 July 2006 | Paul Snell
Department of Trade & Industry minister Margaret Hodge is to examine a dispute over Matalan's supplier payment terms.
The MP, whose role includes responsibility for small firms, accepted the request from the Forum of Private Business (FPB), which represents small and medium-sized firms.
As reported by supplymanagement.com (Web news, 24 May
), the FPB criticised Matalan for implementing a mandatory 2 per cent "contribution" from its suppliers. Matalan said it imposed the discount because other shops have done so and trading conditions are difficult.
Hodge has agreed to examine the dispute in detail using confidential evidence the FPB is providing from suppliers.
Nick Goulding, FPB chief executive, said: "We hope that she will make the growing problem of poor payment practice a priority."
The FPB also wants the government to make it compulsory for firms to pay compensation if they are late in paying suppliers (see Web news, 12 July