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04 December 2018

Cross-party MPs expose late payment hall of shame

Responding to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Select Committee’s publication of several letters from late-paying businesses, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“The correspondence published today by the Business Select Committee uncovers a complete disregard for good corporate governance within some of the UK’s biggest businesses. Some of the payment practices described here are really shocking. A big business waiting 800 days to pay a supplier is nothing short of disgraceful.   

“The Committee has exposed a late payment hall of shame. Many of these businesses are household names. While British shoppers pay instantly for products and services, they will be surprised to hear that the money they hand over today does not reach suppliers for upwards of 90 days – particularly in what is supposed to be the season of goodwill leading up to Christmas.

“It’s now up to the Government – through its Call To Evidence – to come up with solutions that definitively end a UK late payment crisis which destroys 50,000 small firms a year, stifles economic growth and hampers productivity.

“We need to see a fundamental shift in attitudes across boardrooms. The only way to make that happen in these large firms is for each to appoint a Non-Executive Director responsible for overseeing supply chain practice, chairing a Supply Chain Committee alongside their Audit and Remuneration Committees. The case for such Directors has never been stronger. Small firms shouldn’t be left waiting any longer.”