Late payments cripple firms

MP Mary Glindon.
MP Mary Glindon.

It is five years since I won a parliamentary debate on late payments for services rendered by small businesses.

And here we go again, with a new campaign by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) that ‘Everyone Deserves To Be Paid On Time’.

Recent research from the FSB shows that the vast majority of small firms report being paid late for their work, with a third saying that at least one in four payments they are owed arrives later than agreed.

Nine out of ten public sector suppliers say they have been paid late.

They say that poor payment practice is an epidemic plaguing far too many small businesses in the UK.

The damaging impact of such practices was brutally exposed after the collapse of Carillion.

Unreasonable payment terms, supply chain bullying and late payments are just some of the ways that some big businesses use their dominant position to squeeze their smaller suppliers.

Sadly, many small firms do not survive the crippling impact that this type of behaviour can have.

They rightly say that politicians and big business should act.

And they have come up with concrete steps.

The government has been proactive in attempting to stamp out the worst kind of poor payment practices.

However, more must be done, and it must be done now.

We need stronger action to send a clear message that paying late and supply chain bullying are not okay.

All power to the FSB for sticking up for small businesses.

However, I do hope I won’t be commending its campaigns again. Because the government will tackle the issues.