Design suffers from late payers

Design groups are on the receiving end of payment malpractice from some of the UK’s biggest firms, according to a study by The Federation of Small Businesses.

The FSB has produced a stark report on the way 2500 of the largest UK businesses pay their suppliers, following legislation requiring all plcs to list the average time taken to pay bills in their annual reports.

The bleak reality for design consultancies is that just ten plcs pay up within one day of invoicing, and only one third pay within the 30-day term conventionally agreed for payments.

The study shows the average time taken to be 46 days although ten plcs, including design group Edward Briscoe International Group, currently in liquidation, actually take 180 days or longer.

The retail sector is revealed as particularly prone to problems with only 35 per cent of companies meeting the 30-day term.

FSB policy unit chairman Brian Prime says: “Regrettably in recent years business ethics have declined considerably and late payment has been increasingly accepted as part of everyday business.” Now, with the Better Payment Practice Group, he will be campaigning to implement a payment practice Code.

Data analyst Dun & Bradstreet completed the first audit of payment practices for the FSB which it says represents almost 20 per cent of British GDP.

See News Analysis, page 7

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