19 June 2019

Nothing has changed on late payment

Kelly Tolhurst MP, small business minister, delivered a statement to the House of Commons announcing measures to ensure that businesses get paid on time.

The National Federation of Builders (NFB) appreciates the Government’s commitment to put forward plans to crack down on late payment, but these proposals do little to improve the situation of construction companies on the ground.

Measures to strengthen the role of the small business commissioner by giving him power to fine late payers and handing him greater responsibility over the Prompt Payment Code are certainly welcome, but they remain mere proposals which do absolutely nothing to help companies suffering from late payment now.

The Government needs to be bolder and come up with more immediate alternatives to help construction businesses struggling with late payment. Richard Beresford, chief executive of the NFB, said:

“Despite changes to the Prompt Payment Code, 50,000 businesses fail every year because of late payment. Even the department for business admitted that payment times are getting longer. How many more businesses have to go under before we make late payment a thing of the past?”

Nick Sangwin, NFB national chair, said:

“These proposals for consultation will further expose the failure of the Government to tackle late payment. It’s time to do the right thing and kill off late payment, rather than kicking the can down the road once again. Today’s announcement does not help small construction businesses who are about to go under because they are owed money. Nothing has changed for SMEs.”