Government ‘guarantee’ lets down charities

The FD of the nation’s largest children’s charity has accused the government
of not paying its bills on time and breaking a commitment to help charities
during the recession.

Barnardo’s financial director Kevin Barnes said the government has not lived
up to its “guarantee” made in December 2008 to pay businesses within ten days.

Lord Mandelson promised to ensure prompt payment to give businesses a helping
hand in the recession. “The government has… guaranteed prompt payment of their
own bills, within ten days to businesses,” he said at the time.

But more than nine months on and Barnes claims that promise has been broken.
“Months on it is just unheard of,” he said. “The number of local authorities
that have even heard of that or want to hear of that or put it into practice is

Keith Hickey, chief executive of the Charity Finance Directors’ Group, said
public authorities must provide a level playing field for charities “in their
commissioning of public services by adhering to the spirit and principles of the

Charities spoken to by Accountancy Age claim they are being squeezed
by public authorities, which demand caps on overhead costs and pension payments.

The Office of Government Commerce said it was on track to meet its targets. A
spokesman said 90% of invoices were paid in the ten day period across 18
departments and that suppliers can make complaints through the supplier feedback

Further reading

Kevin Barnes, Barnardo’s FD

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