MP secures ten-minute rule bill to tackle late payments

LATE payments campaigner Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, has secured a ten-minute rule bill promoting ‘project bank accounts’ to tackle late payments.

MP Debbie Abrahams

The bill says all payments on government and public authority contracts should be made through a ‘project bank account’ system, ensuring small businesses are paid directly and promptly while also protecting them against losses, such as seen with Carillion’s collapse.

ThePublic Sector Supply Chains (Project Bank Accounts) Bill will be heard on January 15 and aims to set in law the requirement that all parties delivering government and public authority work will receive payment from the same secure ‘pot’ of money.

The ten-minute rule allows a backbench MP to a case for a new Bill in a speech lasting up to ten minutes.

An opposing speech may also be made before the House decides whether or not the Bill should be introduced. If the MP is successful, the Bill is taken to have had its first reading.

In Parliament Mrs Abrahams challenged the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, to support her bill to help end late payments and protect small business suppliers from collapses like Carillion.
Mr Hammond replied saying it was ‘an interesting idea and that the Cabinet Office commercial secretariat is looking at her proposals’.

Since then Mrs Abrahams has been in contact with both the Cabinet Office and business ministers in order to secure the Government’s support for her bill.

Mrs Abrahams previously created the award winning Be Fair – Pay on Time campaign in 2012 after a constituent in Saddleworth told her his company was being destroyed by a major supermarket chain’s late payments.

She said: “Late payment by large businesses is a massive issue across all business sectors leading to billions of pounds being owed to smaller companies for work that has been done.

“When payments take a long time working their way along a supply chain from the contracting authority there is a risk the cash could be cut-off at any time because of payer insolvency.

“We witnessed the catastrophic effect this has with the collapse of Carillion, nearly a year ago, with £2 billion of unpaid invoices to their smaller suppliers, which included builders in my own constituency.

“The precarious position of other major Government contractors like Interserve means urgent action is required.

“My ten-minute rule bill will require all government and public authority work should be paid to suppliers using project bank accounts.”

WATCH Debbie’s question to the chancellor about supporting her ten minute rule bill to support ‘project bank accounts’:

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