Pressure pays off

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I warmly welcome a new initiative to speed up payments to contractors working on public-sector construction projects, announced by the Scottish Government this week (your report, 18 April).

It follows closely on the heels of a report issued by the Scottish Building Federation last month, which found an overwhelming majority of Scottish construction firms had experienced problems with late payments in the past 12 months, with the 
average firm owing in the 
region of £90,000 in unpaid overdue invoices.

Through a pilot of ring-fenced project bank accounts, I am 
delighted that the Scottish 
Government’s Construction 
Procurement Review has responded so swiftly to an issue which we have previously warned has reached epidemic proportions in the construction industry.

Through initiatives such as these, the public sector can hopefully lead by example and help ensure prompt payment to building contractors.

In addition, a harder line needs to be taken with those that persistently fail to pay their bills on time and to crack 
down on unnecessarily lengthy payment terms.

This announcement is certainly an important step forward and vindicates a concerted 
campaign by the construction industry and the business community more generally to help businesses sustain a healthy cash flow by tackling late payments.

Michael Levack

Scottish Building 

Crichton’s Close