12 July 2006 | Rebecca Ellinor
Large retailers stand accused of "abusing their buying power" by passing on costs to suppliers to ease difficult trading times.
In a speech to the Association of Credit Professionals this week, Nick Goulding, chief executive of the Forum of Private Business (FPB), is expected to call for tighter control on poor payment practices.
Ahead of the speech, Goulding said in a statement that suppliers to supermarkets and high-street retailers are increasingly the victims of unscrupulous behaviour.
"There is no protection for these companies who live in fear of large customers taking away their trade should they refuse to comply," he said. "It is wholly unacceptable that these unfair practices go on unchecked, they are abuses of buying power."
The FPB is currently representing suppliers of Matalan and New Look in disputes over payment terms. Asda, Marks & Spencer and Halfords have also come in for criticism for their treatment of suppliers.
Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act firms are entitled to a Statutory Right to Interest (SRI) at 8 per cent above the base rate for late payment of commercial debt. However, under current legislation, applying SRI is optional.
Goulding said he hoped the review of the Late Payment Directive would examine the possibility of making SRI mandatory.