“Crunch time” to take action against late payments, say small businesses

Members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have called for an “end” to late payments as they continue to threaten the survival of businesses up and down the country.

The campaign, launched today, calls on the Prime Minister Theresa May to use her “final days” to “push through the late payments reform package” announced in her Government’s most recent Spring Statement.

It comes after new research revealing that some 80 per cent of the UK’s small businesses are poorly affected by late payment practices, usually adopted by the UK’s biggest businesses.

Poor payment practices, combined with extended political uncertainty surrounding Brexit, is causing up to 50,000 small firms to close their doors every year, the FSB warned.

Its latest campaign is now calling for immediate action by bringing forward the package of measures announced earlier this year.

They include requiring the largest of companies to review and detail their payment practices in annual reports after research revealed appalling payment practices at a number of listed firms, with some taking more than 60 days to pay a single invoice.

Likewise, it was revealed that small businesses are forced to chase around £6.7 billion in overdue invoices every year.

Commenting on the campaign, National Chairman of the FSB, Mike Cherry, said it is “crunch time” to take real action against poor payment practices.

“Under this administration, small firms have seen some positive reforms come into force to ease the burden of poor payment practices. Many, however, are still just about managing to cope with the persistent and debilitating impact bullying and being paid late has on them and their staff.

“What these firms need is one more push to get the changes that will turn the tide against this unjust and unfair behaviour. We cannot afford to have these crucial reforms lost at the last fence, as attention turns to the leadership contest, a new administration and the upcoming Brexit deadline.”