Anti-late payment plan tabled by Corbyn

Labour has scored some easy pre-election points with freelancers, in light of the party’s fresh plans to tackle late payment -- a scourge for many independent workers.

In a speech to the Federation of Small Businesses, Jeremey Corbyn said large firms that pay their smaller suppliers late should be excluded from being able to bid for public contracts.

The Labour leader also said that big businesses being funded by taxpayers should be forced to pass on prompt payment requirements down the supply chain to their smallest partners.

“Poor practices and wider supply-chain bullying have to stop,” said the federation, welcoming Mr Corbyn’s proposals, designed to address the 50,000 traders who fail each year due to delayed payment.

“Larger firms should be helping their smaller counterparts, not paying them late. To eradicate this will require culture change across the economy which must be championed from the very top.”

To this end, the FSB’s Mike Cherry said the best answer would be to make a non-executive director on the board of all large firms “accountable” for their treatment of their smaller suppliers.

His comments come after a requirement for big businesses to declare what percentage of their payments to smaller suppliers are settled within an acceptable 30 days; and what proportion go unpaid for an unacceptable 60 days or more, took effect.

“Government’s transparency reforms are vital, but not sufficient,” Mr Cherry reflected. “We believe it must set an example, with prompt payment practice disseminated throughout the supply chain of the £230bn public procurement programme.”

Speaking after Mr Corbyn's speech, which was made before this week's June 8th general election announcement, the FSB backed Labour's pledge to exempt smaller firms from government plans to replace annual tax returns with ‘at least’ quarterly reporting (Making Tax Digital).

Image credit: Jeremy Corbyn by Garry Knight.    

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