ISME Calls on Irish Government to Tackle Late Payments
The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has called on the new government to put late payments in commercial transactions at the top of its priorities in its first 100-day commitments. The ISME Credit Watch Survey for spring 2011 clearly shows that smaller enterprises are being placed under severe pressure by deliberately delayed payments. Despite persistent warnings from the association, the previous government refused to tackle this issue, due to pressure from big business and state agencies, the main culprits in delayed payments.
According to ISME chief executive officer (CEO) Mark Fielding: “Late payments have always been a problem for small businesses and this has intensified as state bodies and accountancy led big business take longer and longer to pay. When smaller businesses are not being paid on time, they cannot in turn pay their suppliers and the vicious domino effect ends with the smallest and most vulnerable being forced to close down, with the resultant job losses.”
The main findings from 770 respondents in the ISME Credit Watch Survey are:
While the main government departments have improved their payments, the real offenders are the state agencies and big business, where delays have increased dramatically in the last year with smaller business left with ‘take it or leave it’ option.
“With the deterioration in late payments across the board, cash flow in the entire SME sector is drying up and this, coupled with the lack of available, affordable credit from the banks, is putting many small businesses at risk, with the resulting threat of closures and job losses. The ridiculous Prompt Payment Act has had the exact opposite effect on payments to what was intended, in allowing powerful large customers to abuse their dominant position by opting out of the law and dictate unreasonable credit terms to their smaller suppliers,” continued Fielding.
ISME recommends the following steps:
“For far too long this issue has been ignored by previous administrations and prompt action would now clearly demonstrate the new government’s willingness to tackle the problem and assist small business, a sector that has contributed so much to the development of the economy,” concluded Fielding.