Choose your Nation to see campaigns near you
Campaign #MakingBusinessBetter

Making Business Better: Get Paid on Time

Learn how to reduce your risk of late payments and what to do if you find yourself a victim of them with our guides and resources

Fair Pay Fair Play: The Campaign

Our award winning Fair Pay Fair Play campaign highlighted the poor payment epidemic plaguing small businesses across the UK. 

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

We asked people to support our three reforms to help end the poor payment culture through short videos and selfies to back our campaign. 

What are FSB doing?

In our Back to Business Manifesto we asked the Government to take the following actions to help small businesses. 

  • End the scourge of late payment once and for all, hold Boards accountable for poor payment by making the audit committee of every large business responsible for payment practices, empower the Small Business Commissioner and ban late payers from all public sector procurement.
  • Help small businesses enforce contracts and resolve commercial disputes, cutting the time it takes to go through the civil courts and promote alternative ways of resolving disputes without resorting to litigation.
  • Give small and micro businesses the same protection that individual consumers receive in regulated markets like energy, protecting them from rip-off fees.
Across the UK, we're working to help end the scourge of late payments for small businesses.  

Our Fair Pay Fair Play campaign spanned press, broadcast and digital, with members and MPs front and centre. 55 cross party MPs backed our campaign which was featured on BBC Breakfast, ITV news, Sky, Today Programme, PM, You&Yours, a MoneyBox Live late payments special, and regional TV/radio channels. 

Our campaign led to: 

March 2019: the Chancellor’s Spring Statement Commons Speech announced our Audit Committee recommendation as the first step to a late package reform package. He congratulated “FSB in particular on its tireless campaign on the issue.”

June 2019: BEIS press released the full reform package with an FSB quote, confirming our Audit Committee recommendation and our second reform - of the Prompt Payment Code. She offered “great thanks to the Federation of Small Businesses and its Fair Pay campaign, which has campaigned so hard for movement from Government”.

23 May 2019: The Chancellor gave the keynote address at FSB’s UK Awards final, focusing on late payments and how proud he was to have worked with us.

18 July 2019: The Chancellor hosted an FSB roundtable of members at No.11 Downing Street to cement the reforms.

September 2019: - under the new Government, No.10 worked with us as the Cabinet Office announced it would implement our third reform. Every strategic supplier to Govt must pay 95% of invoices in 60 days or be struck off winning public contracts.

Late payment is a major problem for businesses – the average late payment owed to a Scottish firm is £5718. That’s why FSB campaigns for better payment practices in both the public and private sectors across Scotland. 

In our recent procurement report, Broken Contracts: Smaller businesses and Scottish procurement, we called for the Scottish Government to require evidence of good payment practice from those bidding for major contracts and to encourage large firms to assign responsibility for payment practices and supplier relationships to a non-executive director. We also recommended that the government:

  • Issue stronger guidance to the public sector on monitoring and enforcing requirements of supply chain payment practices
  • Ensure invoices that are paid after 30 days have interest added automatically 

We also persuaded the Scottish Government to include prompt payment to the list of good business practices required by those signing up to the Scottish Business Pledge. Businesses who sign up to the pledge can commit paying their bills promptly. 

We received a lot of interest in the Fair Pay, Fair Play campaign from FSB members and politicians in Wales.  

Several members were keen to record videos or to post on social media, as they said that this was a major issue for them. FSB in North Wales discussed the campaign with politicians from all major parties, including LLŷr Griffith AM (Plaid Cymru), Albert Owen MP (Labour), Rhun ap Iorwerth AM (Plaid Cymru) and Mark Isherwood AM (Conservative). In South Wales, we held conversations with a number of politicians including Stephen Crabb MP (Conservative) and Chair of the National Assembly Cross-Party Group on SMEs, Dr. Hefin David AM (Labour, pictured) In addition, we raised the issue with the Police and Crime Commissioner, who was particularly interested to hear that North Wales Police had a poor record of paying on time. FSB also engaged with Welsh Government on the issue, reinforcing the need for prompt payment to be a part of any discussion about reforming procurement in Wales.

FSB’s campaign was a good opportunity to raise this under-discussed and under-appreciated topic among decision makers in Wales and give our members their voice on the issue.

At last year’s Balmoral Show, FSB Northern Ireland partnered with the Financial Ombudsman to launch their expanded Small Business Service, which is free to use. During the Show, we engaged with small business owners to raise awareness of the Service. We also published a video on twitter and got significant press coverage in the media. This partnership has opened up an available route for members to seek redress when they have been mistreated financially.

FSB NI also secured pledges from Political leaders from across the spectrum to get behind the ‘Fair Pay, Fair Play’ campaign. This included the DUP Leader and First Minister, Arlene Foster MLA, the Alliance Party Deputy Leader, Stephen Farry MP, UUP Leader, Steve Aiken MLA, SDLP Leader, Colum Eastwood MP, and Sinn Fein MP Órfhlaith Begley.

FSB’s 2016 Prompt Payment Report analysed the payment practices of Northern Ireland’s 11 local councils and called for improvement and more transparency. While some improvements have been made, we will soon be publishing an updated version, where we will once again highlight where local government must do better.

Dealing with late payments?

If late payments are causing you issues, our guides below can help.


Don’t let late payments give you sleepless nights

Ask any small business owner about what keeps them awake at night and we're sure that cash flow features near the top of the list.


What is the process for debt recovery?

We explain the debt recovery process, helping you to understand what steps to take to help your business and recover any money you’re owed.


How to avoid late payments

Steps you can take to reduce the risk of late payments.


Late payments and what you can do about them

Steps you can take to claim late payments and discourage it from happening again.

Download our Guide

We've put together a handy guide on the steps you can take to decrease the risk of late payments. 
FSB Members can log in and download their copy via this link. Not a member? Sign up to our newsletter using this form to download our guide for free. 




How FSB membership can help

From single invoice insurance allowing you to insure invoices against non-payment through bankrupcy or insolvency to legal help when you need it, FSB membership can help you keep on top of late payments.

FSB Payments <br>

FSB Payments

Fast, secure and reliable card machines to fit your business with discounts for FSB members

FSB Legal Hub

FSB Legal Hub

Online legal information when you need it. Choose from over 750 fully customisable documents.

FSB Debt Recovery

FSB Debt Recovery

Recover money owed to your business with free guidance, documents and templates on demand as well as 24/7 legal advice from our qualified lawyers.

You may also be interested in