New legislation aims to tackle late payments

New legislation aiming to tackle the scourge of late payments and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner was introduced to Parliament this week. The Private Members Bill has the stated aim of “curbing the problem once and for all”.

Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn, who introduced the bill in the House of Lords, said: “Late payment is crippling small businesses while the UK economy is crying out for investment. By failing to tackle late payment we are starving our small businesses of the capacity to act.

“The recent huge escalation in outstanding payments shows that decades of promoting ‘culture change’ has only made things worse. This Bill will tackle the issue once and for all with a package of measures that is operable, impactful and measurable.”

The Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) says the Prompt Payment Code should be made compulsory for businesses with more than 250 staff and payment terms should be halved to a maximum of 30 days.

It also wants to see a clear and simple financial penalty regime for persistent late payers, introduced and enforced by the Small Business Commissioner.

Organisations that support the PPC include HSBC, RBS, BP, Asda and John Lewis Partnership.

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