To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the proportion of invoices his Department paid to small and medium-sized enterprises within five days in (a) the 2021-2022 financial year and (b) each of the last 12 months.
All Government Departments publish payment performance quarterly showing the percentage of invoices paid in 5 days, the percentage of invoices paid in 30 days, and net debt interest liability. This is available on GOV.UK. The Northern Ireland Office’s payment performance is available at:
In addition, in accordance with regulation 113 of the Public Contract Regulations 2015, Contracting Authorities are required to publish annually the percentage of invoices paid in 30 days online. This is available as part of the annual report for 21/22:
The Procurement Bill, currently passing through Parliament, will create a simpler and more transparent procurement regime that will further open up public procurement to SMEs. The Bill includes a new duty on contracting authorities to have regard to the particular barriers facing SMEs. Specifically, the Procurement Bill will imply 30 day payment terms into every sub-contract that is substantially for the purpose of performing a public contract. This will ensure SMEs at every tier of the public supply chain can benefit from faster payments, even if 30 day terms aren't explicitly written into the contract.