The Government has announced an overhaul of the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).
Under the new reforms, companies that have signed up to the PPC will be obliged to pay small businesses within 30 days – half the time outlined in the current Code.
Despite almost 3,000 companies signing the Code, poor payment practices are still rife, with many payments delayed well beyond the current 60-day target required for 95% of invoices. Currently, £23.4 billion worth of late invoices are owed to firms across Britain, impacting on businesses’ cash flow and ultimate survival.
To help tackle the problem, business owners, Finance Directors or CEOs will be required to take personal responsibility by signing the Code, acknowledging that suppliers can charge interest on late invoices under the Code and that breaches will be investigated. Those signed up to the Code will redouble their efforts to ensure payments are made on time and breaches will continue to be publicised by the Government in order to encourage compliance.
The move comes as the Government seeks to strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) to ensure larger companies pay their smaller partners on time. New powers proposed in a recently closed consultation include legally binding payment orders, launching investigations and levying fines.
If these new regulations are observed they will make “financial bullying” by larger firms less prevalent and help to improve the cashflow prospects of smaller suppliers as they grapple with COVID disruption and EU exit changes.