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Overwhelming Support for Action on Late Payments from MPs

January 10 2019

As the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) considers the responses to its call for evidence on Late Payment, a new survey shows the depth of support for decisive action from MPs at Westminster.

For the survey, which was commissioned by The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), YouGov polled MPs from across the political spectrum and found that most wanted to make the Prompt Payment Code mandatory for large businesses and agreed that companies which consistently fail to pay suppliers within 30 days should be hit with fines.

Almost three quarters of MPs agreed with the AAT's recommendations that the Prompt Payment Code should :

  • Be made compulsory for all companies with more than 250 employees
  • Require maximum payment terms of 30 days, halved from the current (advisory) 60
  • Include fines for persistent late payers, enforced by the Small Business Commissioner

Phil Hall, AAT Head of Public Affairs & Public Policy called on the government to recognise that efforts to improve the situation were inadequate to the task:

“Government action to tackle this problem, from the voluntary payment code to compulsory but feeble reporting requirements as well as the creation of a Small Business Commissioner with no real power - have all predictably failed to stem the scourge of late payments. “

“Late payments lead to thousands of insolvencies every year, damage productivity, restrict investment and can also impact on the mental health of small business owners and their employees. “

These recommendataions were also called for by the Select Committee on Business Energy and Industrial Strategy in its recent report on Small Business and Productivity, which found that late payment had had led to the failure of many small and medium sized enterprises and also had a significant impact on their ability to invest in growth and productivity improvements.

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