34% of small businesses still suffer because of late payments

17% of respondents claim that late payments seriously impact their ability to trade, while 60% spend one day a month chasing overdue invoices

Despite recent government efforts to tackle the UK’s late payment culture, 34% of small businesses still see overdue invoices as a problem, according to the quarterly Business Barometer from Close Brothers Invoice Finance.

While more than 1,800 businesses have signed up to schemes such as the Prompt Payment Code, which commits them to paying invoices within 30 days, 17% of respondents say the issue is seriously affecting their ability to trade.

Late payment can cause major cash flow problems for small businesses, restricting growth and adding to costs, with 60% of firms spending at least one day a month chasing up tardy customers.

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David Thomson, CEO of Close Brothers Invoice Finance, said: “The UK’s record on late payments is very poor – while other countries have seen late payment rates come down as their economic fortunes have improved, the UK’s business culture seems to be one in which it is acceptable not to pay small businesses on time.

“Small businesses often lack the power to hold large organisations to account and need greater support from government to help them do so.”

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