FSB NI meets Small Business Commissioner over late payments

Press Releases 20 Jun 2022

FSB NI has welcomed the Small Business Commissioner’s commitment to do all she can to deal with the scourge of late payments and help firms in Northern Ireland whose financial health and well-being are suffering as a result.

Sixty percent of small businesses experience problems with late payments and the pandemic has made matters much worse.

During our first meeting with Commissioner, Liz Barclay, on what is a high priority issue, we outlined the urgent need to change the poor payment culture which has harmed business in Northern Ireland for decades.

We also shared a series of proposed measures which aim to fundamentally address problems with the prompt payment system and incentivise customers to pay early in Northern Ireland. 

One of our key calls is the creation of a Prompt Payment Champion in Northern Ireland who would report on the payment performance of both the public sector and large businesses and make recommendations for improving prompt payment.

FSB NI is developing a report which will outline how the private sector and every level of government can take the right steps to ensure that small businesses get paid much faster.

Speaking after the meeting Head FSB NI Roger Pollen said: “At a time when businesses are fighting soaring costs and being tested like never before it is vital that the problems caused by late payment are properly tackled and systems put in place to stop the problem recurring.”

“We really welcome the Small Business Commissioner’s pledge to work closely with FSB NI to progress solutions to tackle what is a really serious issue for business.”

"Micro and small businesses and the self-employed in Northern Ireland are being forced to spend an excessive amount of time and effort in chasing late payments. Prompt payment can mean the difference between survival or collapse of livelihoods.”

Continuing Roger Pollen said: “It is hard to think of any other walk of life where such a practice would be tolerated. Late payments damage income, which can hold back investment or job creation and in the worst cases, lead to job losses and business closures.”

“We look forward to sharing the findings of our report with Commissioner Barclay, as it is vital that micro and small businesses are treated fairly by their larger counterparts.”

The Small Business Commissioner, Liz Barclay said: “Meeting with FSB Northern Ireland underlined to me the big impact that late and poor payment practices have across the UK. As the cost of doing business rises and skills are in shorter supply, it’s more important than ever that small suppliers are paid quickly and fairly.”

“FSB is already part of the ‘Wait Off’ campaign #PayDontDelay where small business organisations have got together to persuade bigger firms to make sure crucial suppliers don’t have to wait to be paid. We have to work together on solutions to this decades old problem.”