DTI to name and shame companies that pay late

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The Independent Online
An initiative to name and shame large companies that persistently delay paying bills to small suppliers will be launched by the Government today.

The Department of Trade and Industry will give its support to the moves to compile the first official league tables of late payers, using information from around 18,000 large companies. The tables will be collated and published by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), working with the business information group Dun & Bradstreet.

From this year stock market-quoted companies have been obliged to say how long they take to settle bills in their annual reports to shareholders. The new league tables, the first of which will be released next year, will cover 3,000 quoted companies and a further 15,000 subsidiary businesses.

Stephen Alambritis, the FSB's spokesman, said the name-and-shame policy remained the best way to change the British culture of late payment: "We want to withdraw awards or quality assurance certificates from businesses near the top of the tables."

But it emerged yesterday that the FSB will give a lukewarm response to the DTI's proposals for a statutory right to interest for bills paid late. The Government is consulting on its plans which were a manifesto commitment from Labour.