The majority of the UK’s small to medium-sized enterprises are suffering at the hands of their business partners and big-brand bullies, according to a survey from the Forum of Private Business.
According to the FPB’s research, 70% of SMEs have experienced behavioural late payment in the past 12 months, suggesting a lackadaisical attitude towards deadlines from their customers.
Some 46% said they don’t feel that their business partners are open to negotiation on payment terms at all.
And more than half – 51% of those surveyed – said they have had “significant problems with late payment” from their customers.
It seems like size is not the only factor though, as 80% of SMEs said big family-owned private firms are the most trustworthy for their size.
By comparison, certain industries were singled out for criticism, as 79% of respondents said utilities are least likely to take responsibility for their actions, and 69% levelled the same accusation at banks.
Phil Orford, chief executive of the FPB, said: “SMEs already unfairly disadvantaged by rising costs and red tape are held back from growing by bad business practices.
“Our latest poll confirms that the supply chain is fit to burst with hurdles and roadblocks that discriminate against small firms.
“Big business has all the aces, and it is time for affirmative action from the next Government to crack down further on this ethical deficit that threatens to break the backbone of British business – small businesses.”
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