According to official figures released by the Department of Trade and
Industry, the Treasury fails to pay almost one in five of its bills to business
suppliers and other creditors on time.
The Liberal Democrats discovered the figures through a parliamentary
question, and promptly attacked the Treasury’s ‘absolutely appalling’ record.
Vince Cable, the Lib Dems’ Treasury spokesman, said in the Financial
Times: ‘The government claims to be committed to leading by example on
improving the payment culture in the UK in order to create fair and stable
‘However, the figures show that in some key departments, the incidence of
on-time payments appears to be decreasing badly. It is absolutely appalling that
the Treasury, the most powerful, flagship, economic department of government
can’t pay its bills on time.’
Reports show the proportion of bills paid on time by Gordon Brown’s
department has fallen from 99% in 2001-02 to only 81% in 2003-04. However, the
Ministry of Defence managed to pay 100 per cent of its bills on time in the
three financial years to 2003-04, the latest year for which figures are
The Treasury has not yet commented on the DTI figures.
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