The level of late payments affecting UK SMEs has reached £266bn, according to research conducted by YouGov on behalf of supply chain finance provider Crossflow Payments
The startlingly high figure comes despite a UK law being introduced in April requiring large businesses to report their payment terms. Businesses with an annual turnover of at least £36m or 250 employees are required to report on their payment practices, policies and performances twice a year, and publish them via an online government service. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.
The first reporting will be required by November 2017.
There was a record 5.5m private sector businesses in the UK at the start of 2016, according to government figures, of which 99.9% were SMEs – those that employ fewer than 250 staff. These SMEs provide employment for 15.7 million people, and have a combined annual turnover of £1.8 trillion: 47% of all private sector turnover.