Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sage Chief Issues Call for Action on Late Payments; PAY FAIR

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sage Chief Issues Call for Action on Late Payments; PAY FAIR

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE chief executive of one of the North East's largest companies has called on fellow FTSE members to tackle the blight of late payment to small businesses.

In an open letter published on the Sage Group's website, UK chief executive Brendan Flattery said the Newcastle-heaquartered business software firm wholeheartedly supported proposals to address the "unacceptable situation" of late payment. His calls came as the issue of late payment was raised on a national scale, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the CBI both taking part in a meeting at Downing Street in a bid to tackle poor payment practices.

Mr Flattery said: "The health and vitality of the UK's SME sector is crucial to the economic future of this country.

"Of the 5.2m private sector businesses in the UK, 99.9% are SMEs. They account for 60% of private sector employment, have a combined turnover of more than PS1.6trn (47% of the private sector) and play a crucial role in the wellbeing of society and the development of communities in our cities, towns, villages and rural areas.

"Cash is the fuel of growth for these businesses and is crucial to their wellbeing.

"Without prompt payment, cash flow suffers, employees may not get paid and the livelihoods of many are put at risk."

Sage, which works with millions of SME customers around the world and more than 800,000 businesses in the UK, is consistently told by its customers that late payments is one of their biggest business challenges, Mr Flattery added.

"Our recent annual late payment study has shown that British businesses continue to be blighted by late payments, with nearly two-thirds of firms (60%) having to wait for 60 days or more for payment.

"This is clearly an unacceptable situation and we wholeheartedly support proposals that address this very real issue of late payment. …

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