In a recent speech Business Minister, Matthew Hancock, announced that the government-backed Prompt Payment Code will now promote 30-day terms as standard, with a 60-day maximum limit. Unless signatories can prove exceptional circumstances for longer terms, they will be removed from the Code.

The change will be rigorously enforced by the new Code Compliance Board, which will include people from business representative bodies who will investigate challenges made against signatories to the Code by their suppliers. The Compliance Board will remove signatories found to be in breach of the Code’s principles and standards.

The Prompt Payment Code sets out fair and agreed practices for businesses to follow when dealing with, and paying, their suppliers. More than 1,700 businesses and public authorities have so far committed to these principles, which include paying suppliers within an agreed timeframe and communicating with them effectively.

Business Minister Matthew Hancock said:

“Making small businesses wait an unreasonable time for payment is entirely unacceptable. I know first-hand the great burden that late payment can place on firms – and how it can strain family finances – which is why I am committed to stopping it.

Big companies should lead by example and pay small suppliers within 30 days. I have already written to the FTSE 350 urging them to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code.

Fairer payment practices will help small businesses grow and create jobs. This is a key part of our long-term economic plan to build a better Britain.”

Businesses will be actively encouraged to start complying with the strengthened Prompt Payment Code in the coming weeks. The changes complement the tougher reporting laws in the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. These new laws will force the UK’s largest companies to publish their payment terms, increasing transparency and empowering small businesses. The Code Compliance Board will be able to use this data to review the status of signatories to the Code and challenge those that either do not pay their suppliers promptly or insist on excessively long standard terms.

The Prompt Payment Code is a voluntary Code to drive a change in payment culture. It is administered by the CICM on behalf of BIS. More information about the Code can be found at Prompt Payment Code website.

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