Biggest business groups unite in call to take the ‘wait off’ SMEs

Biggest business groups unite in call to take the ‘wait off’ SMEs

7 Jun    Finance News
Rising costs have created a “ticking timebomb” for UK small business owners, the chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned, with almost half a million firms at risk of going bust within weeks without a fresh wave of government support.

Good Business Pays is spearheading an alliance involving the Small Business Commissioner and leaders from the UK’s biggest business groups including the Federation of Small Businesses, CBI, and BCC to stop slow payments from harming small businesses once and for all.

Launched today, the “Wait Off” campaign is backed by 16 of the UK’s most influential groups – representing a total of over half a million businesses in the UK – to up the ante in tackling the poor payment practices of big businesses across their respective industries. The campaign is also being backed by a number of UK businesses that support faster payments to small businesses.

The latest data from the FSB suggests slow and unfair payment practices are threatening the future of almost half a million UK small businesses.

Whilst the challenges of slow payment have been well reported and become a focus for many campaigns over the last few years, the volume and variety of voices calling for change has left small businesses unclear where to show their support and therefore disengaged. The “Wait Off” campaign will create a consistent platform for groups and businesses to work together in achieving lasting change.

Terry Corby, Chair of Good Business Pays, commented: “Slow and late payments have been a problem ignored by many businesses for a long time, but with so many small businesses struggling with rising costs and inflation, it has never been more important to ensure cash flows smoothly and quickly throughout the supply chain.”

A study commissioned by Good Business Pays and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), estimates that if small businesses’ invoices were paid on the day they were submitted, their revenues would increase by £40bn to £60bn per year.2 This could provide a significant income boost for small businesses at a time when their operating costs are rising by the week.

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The list of those business groups backing the campaign is:

Institute of Directors; Federation of Small Businesses; The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed; Confederation of British Industry; Microbiz Matters; Liz Barclay – Small Business Commissioner; National Enterprise Network; Make UK; British Chambers of Commerce; Your business community; Yorkshire In Business; UK Finance; Chartered Institute of Credit Management; NEDonBoard; International Association of Book-keepers.

Corby continued: “No business should have to suffer because of payment delays. We’re delighted that Britain’s leading business groups are taking this issue seriously and helping to drive the culture change we need to see by supporting the campaign. I strongly encourage small business leaders to sign up to the campaign to share their own experiences of poor payment practices.”

FSB National Chair Martin McTague said: “FSB has led the charge against poor and late payments, and we are delighted as founder member of Good Business Pays to see this new campaign alliance formed. We now need the business community and the public’s help, to get large corporate brands paying promptly as part of accepted, normal, business practice. CEO’s are often unaware the company they lead are poor payers, which is why we are also seeking the new Audit Reform Bill to secure a whole Board approach to pay their supply chain, promptly – by empowering their Audit Committees to oversee payments to suppliers.”

The “Wait Off” campaign is calling on small businesses to sign up and add their voices to the movement. Small business leaders interested in lending their support can do so by texting paydontdelay to 60095 and sharing their thoughts and experiences of slow payment.

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UK Small Business Commissioner, Liz Barclay said “I’m beyond delighted that small business organisations are so incensed about slow payments that they’ve got together to bring the problem to the top of the agenda. Waiting to be paid is a major cause of small business failure and of mental health problems. Together we can change the poor payment culture that’s been harming business and the economy for decades.”

The industry-wide initiative will combine a mix of digital advertising, social media, PR and lobbying of key stakeholders, including the government, to focus on the most important drivers in changing behaviour towards payments across UK businesses.

To find out more about the Wait Off campaign principles or to pledge support, visit

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Biggest business groups unite in call to take the ‘wait off’ SMEs

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