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Chinese Whispers – a blog by Philip King

5 June 2014

I was going to devote my blog this week to the BIS response to the Late Payment Consultation published last Friday but decided that the ICM’s press release covered most of that ground. If you haven’t read it, please do so here.

For reasons that I’ll return to, I’m at home as I write this and I’ve been able to follow the Twitter feeds and comment as the Queen’s Speech unfolded. The announcement of the planned Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill is encouraging including, as it does, “measures to improve payment practices between small businesses and their customers”. As always, the headlines don’t tell the full story but I have to assume that the Bill will allow some of the measures included in the Consultation response (referred to above) to be implemented. Our press release welcomed the commitment by BIS to work with the ICM in strengthening the Prompt Payment Code. As we’ve said elsewhere, with 1,656 signatories, the Code has momentum and is ripe for development and strengthening.

I’m meeting BIS later this week to have preliminary discussions, and it’s vital that we see action to follow the rhetoric. Our press release points out what we see as the fundamental gap in what is being proposed, and that’s something else that definitely needs action. We have a real opportunity that we should grasp and use.

On a more personal note, if you’ll indulge me, Mary and I celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary on Tuesday. As I look back over the years and wonder where they’ve gone, I also look at the very happy memories and realise how lucky I’ve been to have such a strong and supportive partner on the journey. Only natural that I’d plan to get a rare midweek night at home so that we could go out and enjoy a celebratory meal. As so often happens things didn’t quite go to plan.

Suffice to say that, from feeling slightly under the weather on Tuesday morning, things rapidly deteriorated to the extent that, rather than sitting in a Chinese restaurant in Thatcham in the evening, we spent some time together in Great Western Hospital having diabetic complications dealt with. I was on a trolley for a few hours and Mary was in an adjacent chair.

Hardly the circumstances either of us would have chosen but things are never so bad they couldn’t be worse. Today sees a vast improvement, and hey, we’ve got a Chinese celebratory belated anniversary meal still to look forward to!

 


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