Late payments are a continuing problem for smaller business, but the issue isn’t getting the attention it deserves, the FSB says. This week saw the publication of the government’s consultation document outlining how the new small business commissioner will handle complaints from the SME sector. But the FSB says it fails to addres the fundamental issue of late payments, a problem mostly associated with larger companies making smaller ones wait.
Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman said he was concerned that not enough attention was going to the issue. “Progress to tackle the UK’s poor payment culture has been too slow. Today’s announcement of the next step for the Small Business Commissioner is necessary but not sufficient to tackle the £26.8 billion currently held up and not paid to small suppliers.
‘Commissioner must have confidence and respect of business’
“FSB research, due to be published shortly, shows about a third of payments to small businesses in the UK are still late, with an average delay of one month. This hampers smaller businesses who struggle with their cash flow, but also prevents the whole UK economy working efficiently.”
“The Small Business Commissioner consultation announced today is an important step, building on the transparency reporting requirements brought in by the last administration. The new Commissioner must have the confidence and respect of the entire business community and the strength to take on large businesses where necessary. However, real success will depend on a top-level approach by the Government to tackle late payment. Prime Minister Theresa May’s corporate governance agenda must prioritise the problem of poor supply chain practice which is currently occurring across the UK economy’s payment culture.”