A Northampton medical supplies firm risks being unable to pay its staff because of a £230,000 debt owed by the NHS.
Andrew Kemp, chief executive at Q Medical Technologies, which has a base on Lodge Farm Industrial Estate, said the late payments, owed between several NHS trusts, meant the company cannot expand.
He added: “It’s no good us having a very good profit and loss sheet if we didn’t have the actual cash in the bank to pay wages, that’s not a good situation. I don’t really want to start down that road. People would begin to not get paid at the end of the month, starting with me, which has happened before, and working its way down.
“I can’t expand either because if I can’t guarantee to pay someone I won’t take them on.”
The plight of Q Medical, which supplies among other things air cleaners for operating theatres, has been raised in Parliament by Andrea Leadsom MP, who also spoke of similar unpaid bills by other statutory bodies.
David Willetts, the business, innovation and skill minister, said Mrs Leadsom’s examples were “quite simply, shocking and indefensible”.
He said: “It’s very important that the message goes out loud and clear that public agencies are expected to pay bills promptly.”
Mrs Leadsom said a small county IT business contracted by a Fortune 500 company, which in turn was supplying the MoD, owed it £250,000 which was six months late. The bank were about to foreclose on her business.
She also raised the case of a legal aid firm that supplies the Legal Services Commission who refused invoices for “flimsy reasons” just so they can be delayed for another eight weeks.