News Story


The Government still isn’t doing enough to save small businesses from failing, according to Peter Luff, MP for Mid Worcestershire and Chairman of the Commons Business and Enterprise Committee.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday Peter drew attention to a recent survey by the Federation of Small Businesses which revealed that all of the members polled we still waiting more than thirty days to be paid by central government departments, local authorities and primary care trusts. This is despite the fact that the Government has pledged to turn around all payments within ten days.

Peter was speaking in his capacity as Chairman of the Business and Enterprise Committee during a so-called “Estimates Day” debate on the economic situation, and the performance of the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). He said:

“The FSB has carried out a survey, which is available today. It says that a third of all small businesses are expecting to close down, or to lay off staff, if they do
not have more help… What about the promise of 10-day payment from the public sector? All members of the Federation of Small Businesses who responded to the survey cited waiting more than 30 days to be paid by central Government Departments, local authorities and primary care trusts, so the 10-day deal is not working.”

Commenting later Peter said:

“The Government’s 10-day deal simply isn’t working. BDO Stoy Hayward, a leading accountancy firm has suggested 33,900 small businesses will close down in 2009, which equates to 120 a day. Paying bills on time is crucial to keep them afloat. It is also an inexpensive way for the Government to save small businesses, and they should be leading by example

“Small businesses simply do not have the luxury of time, too many of which are unnecessarily going to the wall”

Peter also used the opportunity to raise concerns about the performance of BERR. He highlighted the many schemes and initiatives the Government have announced to help businesses weather the recession but which are not actually working properly yet or delivering the help that is claimed. He also raised concerns over the department’s ministerial team which has only one full-time junior minister accountable to the Commons, with all other Ministers – including Secretary of State Peter Mandelson - in the House of Lords. Peter said in the debate

“Our constituents must have confidence that we can raise on their behalf the most pressing issues of the time with the Ministers who are taking the decisions on those issues.”


Back to News