New guidelines to tackle late payment problem

The problems small firms face with late payments from larger businesses is being tackled in a new set of guidelines put forward by the government.

Hundreds of large firms have signed the Prompt Payment Code but many of them don’t always meet the standards required.

Overdue invoices have been identified as one of the major problems faced by small firms and so Business Secretary Vince Cable has proposed a set of amendments to improve the situation.

He says the government will work closely with the Institute of Credit Management to revise the code.

The key changes include obliging large firms to publish information about their payment practices, and making signatories more accountable.  Invoice finance will also be made easier to access for smaller firms.

Mr Cable said: “For too long too many large companies have been getting away with not paying their suppliers on time to maximise their profits. It is small business that is suffering as a result and it needs to stop.”

Skills and Enterprise Minister Matthew Hancock added: “I come from a small business background so I know how important it is to receive payment when it’s promised. It is good for business, no matter what size, to adhere to the Prompt Payment Code and we will work with the Institute of Credit Management to make it an even more powerful driver of good payment performance.”

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