Small and medium sized firms that have been counting on the dawn of a new prompt payment culture to ease their cash flow problems have had their hopes well and truly dashed by the latest reprise of an Europe-wide annual payment survey.

55% of 473 businesses contacted for the UK section of Intrum Justitia’s ‘European Payment Report 2017’ during February and March reported that they have had to accept unfavourable payment terms.

This is significantly more than the 37% of businesses which reported the same unwelcome pressure in last year’s survey – confirming that a trend towards a prompt payment culture is still a political aspiration in the UK, rather than a reality.

Private sector customers were the major culprits and it is estimated that around 33% of the UK’s small firms were in the grip of late paying global giants.

Inevitably, firms suffering from late payment were more likely to become late payers themselves. The survey found that 50% of British businesses admitted to paying their bills late.

Late payment is apparently a pan-European trend, with 61% of businesses contacted across Europe for the survey complaining about being asked to wait longer for payment than they ‘felt comfortable with’ – a staggering increase on the 40% who reported the same experience last year.

The Credit Protection Association Plc are passionate about protecting SME’s from bad payment practices and are disheartened by these statistics. Through our website payontime.co.uk we promote good payment practice and we encourage our members to fight hard for fair treatment.