UK Big Business continues to fail on Prompt Payment Code

The UK government has issued a further warning to the nation’s largest companies, on maintaining prompt SME payments, as 18 publicly traded firms are suspended from the ‘Prompt Payment Code’.

This morning the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), the body charged with running the government’s commercial directive suspended 18 companies including BT, British Gas, Screwfix, Centrica and BAE Systems from the scheme.

The CICM details that it had found multiple instances of late payments to smaller enterprises, taking longer than 60-days.

Governing the SME scheme, the CICM cannot issue fines on offenders but has sanctioned that the listed companies can no longer use ‘government branding’ or claim to be signatories of the Prompt Payment Code.

A core mandate of UK Chancellor Philip Hammond’s spring statement, the scheme was established in 2019 to ‘end the purge of late payments on small businesses’.

UK Treasury research papers have underlined that late payments had contributed to ‘50,000 UK small businesses closing per year’, damaging the UK economy.

The new suspensions come after 17 businesses were removed or suspended in April, including Vodafone and engine maker Rolls Royce.

Philip King – CICM

Updating stakeholders, CICM chief executive Philip King said “We will continue to challenge signatories to the code if the obligatory Payment Practice Reporting data suggests that their practices are not compliant.

“We are encouraged that of the 18 who have been suspended or removed today, all but one has already submitted action plans to achieve future compliance, and we are working closely with those businesses to support a better payment culture.”

Full list of companies:

Severfield (Design & Build) Ltd, Stantec UK Limited, Screwfix, Prudential , British American Tobacco (Holdings) Limited Galliford Try PLC, Alun Griffiths, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Limited BAE Systems, Centrica, Maintenance Management Limited, Fujitsu Services Limited , De La Rue Holdings plc , Domino UK Ltd, BT plc, AB World Foods