Frances Ball 18 Jul 2019 12:18pm

Companies shamed over late payments to suppliers

BAE Systems, Centrica, and Prudential are among 18 large businesses that have been branded “unethical” for late payments to suppliers.

The 18 companies have been suspended from the government’s prompt payment code, a pledge to pay 95% of invoices within 60 days.

Associated British Foods, the group that owns Primark and Twinings, was the only one of the named companies who has yet to promise an “action plan” in response.

Stuart Mackinnon, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) external affairs manager for Scotland, said, “We need to get tough with those big businesses that abuse their suppliers and use them as cheap credit.

“Today’s suspensions hopefully demonstrate a change of attitude at the top toward late paying big businesses,” he added. “Across the UK, we need to see the next prime minister force the biggest businesses to behave responsibly toward their supply chains.”

According to the FSB, 50,000 businesses go under every year as a consequence of late payments.

The government’s prompt payment code has been criticised in the past for not acting against signatories that breach the code’s principles, but has recently been enforced along harder lines.