Posted: Tue 2nd Oct 2018
The government is considering forcing large companies to nominate a board member to ensure that invoices are paid on time to small suppliers.
According to The Times, it would mean giving suppliers access to a non-executive director when looking to get bills settled.
The move is the latest by the government to crack down on late payments, a problem which is believed to impact on 50,000 businesses every year with a quarter reporting that overdue invoices are a threat to their survival
Speaking at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, business secretary Greg Clark said central government will aim to pay 90% of undisputed invoices from small businesses within five days, while the Prompt Payment Code, a voluntary scheme through which big firms promise to pay invoices within 60 days, will be strengthened.
In addition, Paul Uppal, the small business commissioner tasked with helping small firms tackle late payment, will join the Code's compliance board.
In Enterprise Nation's podcast last week, Uppal discussed his role and that of the Prompt Payment Code.
The government today announced measures aimed at tackling late payment for small businesses inc Small Business Commissioner @sb_commissioner joining Prompt Payment Code's Compliance Board to encourage big firms to pay on time. Here's a clip from our podcast with the Commissioner. pic.twitter.com/LpfqgKpDVs
— Enterprise Nation (@e_nation) October 1, 2018
"Over the past five years the amount owed to businesses in late payments has halved, but it is still the case that too many of our smallest firms are undermined by withheld payments of money they are owed," Clark said.
"I will make sure that the government leads by example in our own conduct, by increasing our five day payment rule to 90% of all invoices from small firms and boosting the powers of the small business commissioner.
"We are determined that any existing small business or anyone with the initiative to create one should be confident that they will not be held back by unreasonable delays in their bills being paid."
Commenting on the announcements, Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "It's great to see the government put some real weight behind tacking late payment.
"That is a vitally important issue for our members and something we've pledged to make a campaigning point."
A government consultation setting out further ideas will be published on Thursday.