Posted: Tue 11th Apr 2017
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is today announcing a range of small business measures including an attack on big companies that pay suppliers late.
During a speech in London, Corbyn will publicly name blue chip firms, including Capita, BT Group, E.ON, Vodafone, National Grid and Marks & Spencer, as being among the worst offenders accusing them of paying between 72 and 119 days late.
New figures out today from Zurich show that 52% of Britain's small-and-medium sized companies are owed a total Â£44.6bn in late payments and Corbyn says big corporates not paying up on time is forcing thousands of their small and micro counterparts out of business.
"Cash is king for any business, and big companies are managing their cash by borrowing - interest free - from their suppliers," Corbyn will say during a Federation of Small Businesses event.
"Some of the biggest names in business are holding cash piles that don't actually belong to them.
"It's a national scandal. And it's stopping businesses from growing and causing thousands to go bust every year. It kills jobs and holds back economic growth."
To combat the problem, the Labour leader will pledge that under a future Labour government any company bidding for public sector contracts will be forced to pay its suppliers within 30 days.
In another attempts to woo entrepreneurs, Corbyn will pledge to scrap for companies with a turnover under Â£83,000 the government's Making Tax Digital plans, which require firms to submit quarterly tax information.
The Labour leader will say it's a "burden" and "distraction" that will harm the economy.
"We will support those striving to make a living through self-employment and in small businesses," Corbyn will say.
"Not just because it is the right and fair thing to do, but because millions of jobs and the future of our country depends on it."
He will also expand on proposals for a network of regional investment banks.
Some of the big businesses named by Corbyn have denied the late payment accusations. A Capita spokeswoman told City A.M.: "We don't recognise these figures whatsoever."
A statement from Vodafone said: "It is disappointing that this allegation has been made as it is just not representative of our payment practice", and Marks & Spencer responded with: "We don't recognise these numbers at all. Over 99% of our supplier invoices are paid on time and we are signatories to the Prompt Payment Code."