07 October 2008 | Jake Kanter
The government is working on plans to improve payment times to small suppliers and increase cash flow in UK business.
The Department of Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) is looking closely at the time it takes public sector bodies to pay their bills in an effort to speed up processes. The issue will be one of the first jobs for new secretary of state Peter Mandelson.
In an interview with the Financial Times yesterday, Mandelson said helping small and medium sized businesses through challenging economic conditions was "top of the in-tray". The former EU commissioner added: "A lot of small businesses depend on payments by the government for their cash flow. That should be an area we can work on."
A spokeswoman for BERR told supplymanagement.com: "The period of time in which bills have to be paid and the flow of capital in business are areas we are focusing on. The fact that Mandelson mentioned it in one of his first interviews [as the new secretary of state] shows it is a priority." She could not, however, confirm when the government will make an announcement on the issue.