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MPs in support of prompt payment proposals

Ministers are in favour reform for the way in which large companies pay small businesses in the UK, research canvassing their views has found.

According to a recent YouGov poll commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), almost three quarters (73 percent) of MPs agree with the three changes the trade body has lobbied for.


These are that the Prompt Payment Code:

  • Be made compulsory for companies employing more than 250 employees;
  • See maximum payment terms halved from 60 to 30 days;
  • Be supported by a clear, simple financial penalty regime for persistent late payers, enforced by the Small Business Commissioner.

A further 16 percent neither agreed or disagreed and 11 percent of MPs said they didn’t know. However, no MPs disagreed with the proposals.


The recommendations have already gained the backing of the recruitment and construction industries, SMEs, the AAT said, and most recently the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee who backed the recommendations in a recent report on small business productivity.

Phil Hall, AAT head of public affairs & public policy, said: “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.


“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.


“With almost three quarters of MPs from across the political divide supporting AAT’s recommendations for payment reform, it’s very difficult for the government to continue to drag their heels and back the status quo. We trust that the small business minister will bear these facts in mind when she considers what to do next.”


The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently held a public call for evidence on the issue of late payments and says it is currently analysing feedback.



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