UK SMEs will welcome the comments made by business leader and former trade minister, Lord Digby Jones, that the government backed Prompt Payment Code is failing and more power needs to be put in place for it to have any reasonable effect.
That's the view from Eazipay Ltd, the UK's largest Direct Debit processing company, which set-up an online e-petition in February 2013 calling on the government to take much firmer action to help small businesses get paid on time.
As part of a report for 5 Live Investigates on BBC 5 Live on Sunday 13th October, Lord Jones said that the Prompt Payment Code was ineffective and has certainly not worked; adding that it was simply a nice statement of intent.
"Like us, we're certain that UK SMEs will welcome Lord Jones' comments regarding the Prompt Payment Code", says Ron Bradney, Managing Director at Eazipay, adding, "The Code is simply not fit for purpose. It is an open secret that it is being cynically manipulated by companies who want to look as if they pay promptly, while in effect doing the exact opposite.
"At a time of national austerity when even large High Street companies are going bust, it is a national scandal that SMEs are being starved of cash by customers who have the resources to pay their bills, but cynically choose not to."
In order to force the national scandal of late payments further up the political agenda, Eazipay launched an e-petition, which, when it generates enough support will trigger a late payments debate in the House of Commons.
"The Prompt Payment code has really lost its focus", adds Mr Bradney. "The £30 billion of debt owed to SMEs, coupled with unacceptable waiting times, is damaging businesses on a day-to-day basis. The government in the shape of Michael Fallon's Department for Business Innovation and Skills, needs to step up to the plate and tackle this issue head on rather than turn a blind eye and hope it all goes away.
"In all honesty, it is hard to see what purpose the Prompt Payment Code actually serves."
For more information and to view and sign the e-petition visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/46143