§ Mrs. Roche
To ask the President of the Board of Trade how often his Department and each agency within it has failed to pay invoices due to small businesses within 30 days in each of the last five years. 
§ Mr. Lang
The information is not available in the form requested. However, in common with other Government Departments, surveys of the DTI's payment performance have been carried out annually since 1991–92. Since then, the proportion of bills paid to all suppliers by DTI and its agencies within 30 days, or within the agreed credit period, has been as follows:
- 1991–92: 80 per cent. Proportion
- 1992–93: 90.5 per cent. Proportion
- 1993–94: 90per cent. Proportion
In 1994–95, following Treasury guidance, a new more rigorous system of sampling was introduced and the figure for that year was 84 per cent. I do not regard this performance as satisfactory and a target of 95 per cent. has been introduced for 1995–96.