View from City Road: Urgency needed on late payment

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For the first time in Trade Indemnity's quarterly financial trends survey, not a single firm could report being paid on time.

Late payment is a huge burden for Britain's small businesses. They currently have to shoulder pounds 50bn in overdue payments - often from larger companies that have the muscle to misbehave.

The Chancellor answered pleas to do something about late payment in the last Budget by setting in train a programme of consultation to consider statutory interest on late payment. But this proposal came under immediate attack from many quarters, not least large companies, who said legislation would be too cumbersome.

With late payment now being blamed as a key factor in slowing the recovery, the Government should look at this idea with greater urgency.