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UK European Union Presidency Events: Sponsorship

Lord Norton asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Integrated Communication Projects Ltd did not use a standard letter of approach to companies when seeking sponsorship for the events associated to the Edinburgh Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and those held during the period of the British Presidency of the European Union. Initial contacts were tailored to the recipient and the event for which sponsorship was sought.

Lord Norton asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Written Answer by the Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean on 3 September 1998 (WA 44), whether they will place in the Library of the House the list of the 400 companies from whom Integrated Communications Projects Ltd sought sponsorship for the presidency events.[HL3623]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Integrated Communications Projects Ltd (ICP) initially approached 120 companies in relation to their contract to seek sponsorship of the government-hosted events in 1997-98 and I have placed a list of these companies in the Library of the House. Subsequently, other companies were contacted by ICP as additional opportunities were identified: for example, over 170 companies were approached to sponsor the Technology Exhibition associated with the EU Council of Ministers Meeting in Cardiff, June 1998.

Payment of Bills by Government Departments

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What proportion of bills were paid on time by Government departments and their agencies during the financial year 1998-99.[HL3850]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): There has been a further improvement in the payment performance of central Government as a whole. The majority of departments met the previous target of paying 95 per cent. of their suppliers' bills on time.

There is no room for complacency and it is disappointing to see that a number of departments and agencies, including DTI, failed to meet this year's target of 97.5 per cent. I have taken steps to remind all departments and agencies, including DTI, of the importance of paying suppliers' bills on time and meeting the target.

The target for the 1999-2000 financial year has been increased to pay 100 per cent. of undisputed suppliers' bills on time. It is particularly important that the public sector sets an example to business and is seen to pay its bills on time.

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We are committed to improving the UK's payment culture. Late payment is a serious problem, particularly for small businesses. Not knowing when customers' bills will be paid means uncertain cashflow, increased borrowings, higher costs and reduced profits.

Government departments and their agencies are required to monitor their payment performance and to publish the results in their departmental or annual reports. The following table lists, by department, the proportion of bills paid within 30 days, or other agreed credit period, of receipt of a valid invoice for financial year 1998-99.

Government Departments Payment Performance 1998-99

Main DepartmentsPaid on Time %
Privy Council Office100
National Investment and Loans Office100
Scotland Crown Office99.9
Ministry of Defence99.8
Government Actuary's Department99.4
Radiocommunications Agency*99.3
Office of the National Lottery99.3
Ordnance Survey99.1
Office of Water Services (OFWAT)99.0
Insolvency Service*99.0
HM Land Registry98.6
Office of Electricity Regulation98.4
Registry of Friendly Societies98.4
Intervention Board for Agricultural Produce98.3
Office of Fair Trading98.0
Department of Culture, Media and Sport97.9
Foreign & Commonwealth Office97.7
Building Societies Commission97.5
HM Customs & Excise97.5
Office of Telecommunications97.3
Welsh Office97.3
Department for Education & Employment97.2
Inland Revenue97.2
Public Records Office97.1
Scottish Office96.8
Forestry Commission96.7
Lord Chancellor's Dept. (inc. Public Trust Office)96.7
Department for National Savings96.7
Home Office96.6
Department of Trade & Industry96.3
Office of the Rail Regulator96.3
Department for International Development96.3
Cabinet Office96.3
Treasury Solicitors Department96.2
Northern Ireland Office96.1
Crown Prosecution Service96.0
Office for National Statistics95.6
Serious Fraud Office95.4
Royal Mint95.0
Office of Passenger Rail Franchising95.0
Office of Gas Supply94.9
Export Credits Guarantee Department94.4
Charity Commission94.1
Health & Safety Executive**94.1
Department of Health94.0
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food93.3
Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions93.1
HM Treasury93.0
Department of Social Security91.7

*Insolvency Service and Radiocommunications Agency are Executive Agencies of the Department of Trade and Industry.

**Health & Safety Executive is an Executive Agency of the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.

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