Carillion has been named as one of the worst offenders for late payment in the construction industry, with subcontractors having to wait an average of 80 days before receiving their money.

The Institute of Credit Management named the contractor as the third worst payer in the FTSE 250.

Other offenders were Speedy Hire, which takes 72 days, and Bellway Homes, which takes 63.

The average payment period for all 11,000 publicly-owned companies in the UK is 44 days.

The news comes as a survey by the National Specialist Contractors Council revealed that 33% of its members had to wait between 60 and 90 days for payment in the final quarter of 2007. In the third quarter 21% had to wait that long, and in the second quarter, 5%.

A spokesperson for Carillion said the company was open about its payment period, which she said was in fact 65 days.

She said: “We tell all our suppliers up front what the payment terms are. The 80-day payment period could be because they had submitted an invoice halfway through a month and we process our invoices at the end.”

Bellway disputed the findings, saying its policy was to “pay promptly”. Speedyhire was unavailable for comment.

The NSCC survey also found that 87% of people reported an increase in suppliers’ prices, which implies that firms are being squeezed from both sides. The number of specialists predicting increased margins has fallen by 49%.

Suzannah Nichol, chief executive of the National Specialist Contractors Council, said: “I think it demonstrates that things aren’t getting better at all, and in light of things like the Office of Government Commerce’s Fair Payment Charter that’s not good news.”

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