22 September 2009 | Allie Anderson
UK suppliers have named late payment as their biggest concern in the current economic climate, according to research by the Forum of Private Business (FPB).
Almost a quarter of respondents said dealing with late payment and poor cash flow is currently their "key issue". And 42 per cent noted that payment practices were becoming worse, typically from larger customers.
It follows a separate report by the Federation of Small Businesses earlier this month, which revealed that 4,000 small suppliers were forced out of business last year due to late payment (Web news, 3 September).
The FPB's latest economic downturn panel survey, questioned 150 of its 6,000 member businesses from a range of sectors. Other concerns raised by respondents included securing access to finance and market health.
The FPB said more needs to be done to improve payment practices in the UK. Vendors can charge for delayed invoices under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act, but few enforce the rule as they fear large companies will switch supply.
Phil Orford, chief executive of the FPB, said: "Poor payment, which has always been a problem, is now threatening the very survival of many businesses.
"We want the UK's biggest companies to take the lead and pledge to pay their suppliers on time by signing up to the code in order to set in motion a consensus of prompt payment through the supply chain."