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Government 'charade' in ISME crosshairs over late payments

The waiting period for payment climbed again in the last three months, with big business abuses and government indifference blamed.

Image: Shutterstock

SMALL BUSINESSES FACE a wait of 63 days for payment on average, new research from the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association has found.

The waiting period is up during the second quarter of the year, with an average of 60 days recorded during the first three months of 2014.

The small business lobby group said that the Government was failing to meet the challenge of ensuring small businesses are paid on time.

Long term payment arrears are also becoming more common, with 28% of companies now waiting three months or longer for cash to land, up from 25%.

Extreme cases also showed incremental growth, with delays of 120 days and more up 1% to 6% overall, and a 2% increase to 16% in businesses waiting longer than that.

Munster is the worst geographic area for timely payments at 66 days on average, while Connaught is the best at 51.

‘Charade’

ISME chief executive Mark Fielding called on the Government to “stop the charade of the ineffectual late payments legislation and take a much stronger hand in ensuring that SMEs in Ireland are paid on time”.

This Government is forever spinning the yarn that they are ‘SME focused’, while their inaction on late payments would state the opposite. They allow big business and government agencies to continue to abuse their dominant position.

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Pointing to the finding that only 2.5% of SMEs feel that they can charge interest on late payments, he said many small business owners feel threatened by large businesses which will stop buying from them if they take action.

He called for the introduction of a phased transition to mandatory 30 day payments, but said that he held little hope of the current Government delivering on it.

“Even the attempt by the Department of Jobs to improve matters through a Fair Payment Charter has collapsed due to lack of support from the big business and semi-state lobby group IBEC.

Read: Half of Irish companies forced to sack workers because of late payments>

Read: Small firms being ‘strangled’ by late payments – SFA>

About the author:

Jack Horgan-Jones

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