Conciliation service to help unpaid freelancers

A government plan to set up a conciliation service to tackle the problem of late payment for freelancers, the self-employed and other micro-businesses is being welcomed.

Announced on Saturday, the plan “goes a long way in helping” unpaid freelancers get the payments they are due without court action, says self-employment body IPSE.

The body added that the service, announced by ministers in recognition of Small Business Saturday on Dec 6th, should make the ‘catch 22’ of being paid late less of a headache.

IPSE’s Simon McVicker explained: “The current catch-22 situation means that micro-businesses are often unable to chase clients for payment that isn’t forthcoming for fear of damaging important business relationships.”

New results of a survey conducted by IPSE with ComRes show overwhelming support from the general public for more to be done to tackle late payment.

The research asked a cross-section of 1,000 ‘traditionally’ employed and self-employed people living in the UK’s 40 most marginal constituencies about their views on the issue.

Seventy-nine per cent of respondents said they supported tougher rules to help prevent small businesses being paid late, and 78% backed such traders being able to settle disputes without going to court. Just 5% said they opposed stronger measures to combat late payment.

“The majority of the respondents to this survey are not self-employed but still strongly agree that more should be done to combat this issue,” Mr McVicker reflected.

“[Saturday’s] announcement shows positive action in line with public opinion and shows the government understand the issues that independent professionals face.”

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9th December 2014

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