According to reports in The Times today the delays threaten ruin for some of the contractors to the Dome and involve at least £2m owed to just two companies.
The New Millennium Experience Company has been accused of ‘unacceptable delaying tactics’ and has admitted it has struggled to keep up with a backog of unpaid bills.
A Times investigation team claims some firms have waited five months for payment and reports at least three firms have begun legal proceedings against the Dome.
News about the Dome’s payment problems comes against a background of controversy around legislation intended to solve a problem which bedevils small and medium sized firms.
Legisation was brought in by Labour in 1998 to combat late payments. The Act allows small companies to charge interest of 8% above the base rate on bills unpaid after 30 days, unless prior agreement has been reached. A supplier can take a contractor to court if it ignores the demand for interest.
The case of the Dome will as a stark reminder to many small suppliers that the legislation appears to have little effect in some areas.
A survey released by Grant Thornton found that the average payment period in the UK is still 46 days. A study by Euler Trade, the credit insurer, showed that 17.9% of invices are still waiting payment 30 days after their due date.
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