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14 December 2011 | Angeline Albert
Buyers in the public sector should make prompt third party payment a requirement for bidders in pre-qualification questionnaires (PQQs), business groups have told the UK government.
The demand was made in a letter sent to business minister Mark Prisk yesterday, which was signed by 18 business groups including Lloyds TSB bank, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the National Farmers Union, the Forum of Private Business, the Brewing, Food and Beverage Industry Suppliers Association and the Federation of Master Builders.
The businesses want only those contractors who give evidence at the PQQ stage of prompt payment of their suppliers to win public sector contracts and have urged the business minister to push for this.
They also want price discounts offered to large suppliers in exchange for prompt payment to be stopped and an end to retrospective changes to payment terms and conditions that are not contractually agreed. In addition, they called for firms with more than 250 employees who are bad payers to be named and shamed and barred from winning contracts.
A spokesman for the Forum of Private Business said: “Our members say the public sector’s PQQ criteria looks for evidence of social policies relating to gender, and so on, but not evidence of prompt payment by contractors. In addition the issue of contractors expecting discounts from their suppliers in exchange for prompt payment is not acceptable. Suppliers should be paid promptly in the first place.”