The Forum of Private Business welcomes the announcement from BEIS that Late Payment of small business invoices is to be a focus of the Minister for Business.

They claim that the issuance of guidance to large businesses on how to pay on time is probably unnecessary, as most know the procedure, but just fail to follow it. Having to disclose practices six monthly will ensure that those who do fail, risk having their names made public.

The Forum are however lobbying for two further measures, firstly in the shaming of late payers and secondly in providing clear guidance for the actual small businesses suffering at the hands of the late payers.

The Hall of Shame currently run by the Forum highlights those large businesses that are forcing unreasonable terms of trade, as well as late payment practices, on small businesses. Following the example of Government, they will now be publishing this six monthly, spotlighting those businesses that are bullying small businesses on commercial terms, and encourage small businesses to inform them of situations they see as unfair.

Secondly, though, the Forum sees the real issue of late payment as too often stemming from the small businesses themselves failing to issue invoices properly and failing to be clear on their terms of payment.

Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, Ian Cass says, "What we really need is clear guidance for small businesses as much as for large businesses. Many small businesses for instance fail to quote purchase order and reference numbers, they fail to quote their payment terms and they fail to add late payment interest clauses. The Forum issues its Credit Control guide to help with these issues.
We will be working to support the Small Business Commissioner, when their long awaited appointment is confirmed, to focus on this aspect, and also will be pressing for a simple route to claim both payment and penalties without the need for expensive court procedures.
Additionally we would like the Commissioner to be given powers to act against big business, beyond finger wagging letters, when they do not respect the published guidelines, and we will be lobbying hard on this issue. Late payment is one of the biggest headaches for small businesses and they need all the support they can get in resolving it"

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About Forum of Private Business

The Forum of Private Business is a not-for-profit comprehensive business support organisation founded in 1977. Our membership is spread throughout the UK and primarily made up of companies that employ between 1-50 employees, helping them to manage employees, saving time, giving advice, support and protection where a business needs it.

We are a recognised leading authority on business issues and represent the interests of business owners on many consultative bodies. We have built a solid reputation, being influential in many areas of policy-making, in changing laws that affect small businesses, and we continue to campaign for the fair treatment of businesses within the UK.

Everything we do is about making sure our members’ businesses operate profitably. This means that every penny we make goes back in to supporting our members, providing the support and resources that will enable businesses to flourish and grow.