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Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 14th December 2011.

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Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Conservative, Orpington

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with his French counterpart on the efficacy of limiting payment periods between companies to 60 days as required by the French loi de modernisation de l'économie 2008.

Photo of Edward Davey Edward Davey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

BIS officials have been in regular discussion with their French counterparts about late payment legislation in France, in the context of the working group on the development of the recast directive on combating late payment in commercial transactions.

This Government have made clear their objective of challenging the long-standing culture of late payment, which persists across all sectors of the economy and across businesses of all sizes, and we have supported a multi-faceted strategy for improving business cash flow alongside the UK's leading business and finance organisations.

We continue to monitor payment across the economy and will not rule out any measures which have the support of the business community in the UK. However, there has been long-standing and widespread opposition from UK business to Government intervention in contractual freedoms, including on payment terms. I understand that the French legislation allows sectors to apply for exemption and that this has been utilised by a large number of sectors.

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