The Department of Trade and Industry has been revealed in its own league table as one of the worst late payers in the government.
The embarrassing discovery – reported in this weekend’s Financial Times – shows the DTI as 51st out of 57 government departments and agencies.
In a written answer to parliament, small business minister Patricia Hewitt admitted that the DTI was one of 54 government departments failing to pay all bills within 30 days.
‘I am particularly disappointed at my own Department’s failure to meet the target. It is unacceptable that the Department which has overall responsibility for the government’s policy on prompt payment should itself fail to meet the target,’ said Hewitt.
‘My officials are introducing new measures designed to ensure that the DTI meets the target as soon as possible next year,’ she added.
And it was also revealed that the department’s performance has actually declined compared to the previous year. The department managed to pay 93% of its bills on time, compared with 96.3% in the previous financial year.
The disclosures are particularly uncomfortable for the DTI as it is acutely aware of the difficulties business faces as a result of late payment.