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New proposals to tackle late payment

New proposals obliging large and listed companies to publish detailed information about their payment practices and performance were unveiled 27 November 2014 by the Business Minister Matthew Hancock.

The proposed changes will provide robust information making it easier for small businesses to compare the role models with the less reputable. Specifically, the average payment time; the proportion of invoices paid beyond terms; and the proportion of invoices paid within 30 days, over 30 days, over 60 days and over 120 days.

The new reporting requirement has been developed in response to feedback from an earlier consultation, where a clear majority supported increased transparency. The new proposals show how the government intends to use the prompt payment power in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill which is currently going through Parliament. Reporting on a quarterly basis will be a mandatory requirement for all large and quoted companies.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

Tackling late payment is at the heart of our drive to help small businesses. Coming from a small business background, I know just how critical late payment can be for small firms’ cash flow. We know that small businesses are often reluctant to risk losing business by using the redress measures we’ve put in place, so we want to tackle the underlying culture by increasing transparency on payment practices and performance.

The measures we are consulting on will make it clear to small businesses and consumers alike which large businesses behave properly, and those that think they can ride roughshod over their suppliers.