Thursday 2nd February, 2017
The Government has published guidance to help large businesses report on how quickly they pay their suppliers, as regulations are laid in parliament by Small Business Minister Margot James.
As from April 2017, large companies and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) will have to publically report twice a year on their payment practices and performance, including the average time taken to pay supplier invoices.
Failure to report will be a criminal offence and the guidance will help large businesses and LLPs prepare for these measures coming into force.
Small Business Minister Margot James said: "The UK is home to a record 5.5 million small businesses and the industrial strategy will help address many of the challenges they face getting finance and scaling up. It’s completely unacceptable that small and medium-sized businesses are owed £26.3 billion in late payments, which hampers their ability to grow and has no place in an economy that works for all."
The changes are part of a package to shine a spotlight on bad payment practice and lead to improved standards. This includes the appointment of the Small Business Commissioner to support small businesses in resolving payment disputes, with the Commissioner’s office expected to be up and running later in the year.
Recent findings from the payment processor Bacs report that nearly half of the UK’s small-to-medium sized businesses experience late payment, with £26.3 billion owed to them in total. The regulations aim to tackle this by increasing transparency and helping small businesses make informed decisions about who they do business with.