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Tacis trouble

Letters to the Editor

Your news article which appeared under the headline 'Scott Wilson risks Brussels wrath over payment delays' (NCE 21 January) fairly and accurately stated the position of my firm with regard to late payment of invoices submitted by us for the work on TACIS projects. You will be interested to hear that the latest position, as checked with TACIS, is that we may receive payment at the end of February. This would represent a delay of approximately 90 days beyond the 60 day contractual payment period.

The headline of your story and the article's first two paragraphs cause me some concern, however. To paraphrase, you report that the European Commission is warning off UK firms from complaining about late payment of fees, quoting an unnamed 'senior industry source'.

My firm has received no warning from the European Commission either formal or informal, direct or indirect. Nor, to my knowledge, has either the British Consultants Bureau or the Association of Consulting Engineers.

Our dealings with Commission officials have always been forthright and pleasant. We have no problems at all with project staff. It just seems that invoice processing is incredibly thorough and slow. We have proposed to the European Commission changes to the payment system which could ease the situation for companies like Scott Wilson. We are currently awaiting a response to those proposals.

R McGowan (F), Chairman, Scott Wilson, Scott House, Basing View, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG21 4JG

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