One of Matthew Hancock’s last actions before he moved from BIS to his new ministerial role at the Cabinet Office was to stress that late payment by large firms is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
The then business minister – who became Paymaster General and minister for the Cabinet Office following the general election – set out plans that will see large firms required to publish details of their payment practices from April 2016.
A central location – such as a publicly accessible online database – will be established for the information to be stored on, making it available to anyone with an interest.
The information that must be provided will include:
• Payment terms.
• Average time taken to pay.
• Proportion of invoices paid beyond agreed terms.
• Proportion of invoices paid:
o In 30 days or less.
o In 31-60 days.
o Beyond 60 days.
• Any late payment interest owed or paid.
Interestingly, Mr Hancock made clear that in his view, any payment terms beyond 60 days are simply unacceptable – as is late payment beyond the agreed terms, whatever they may be.
He said: “We are determined to make Britain a place where late payment is unacceptable and 30-day terms are the norm – with a clear 60-day maximum.
“We’ve acted to ensure all public payments do that, right down the supply chain, and are bringing in new strict transparency rules.
“These new rules will make poor payment performance a boardroom reputational issue for companies and help change the culture once and for all.”
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