There are increasing calls of alarm at the growing number ofSMEs being impacted by late payments.
In the last couple of weeks research from a number ofsources including the Barclays Local Business Late Payment Survey has shownthat the days that small companies have to wait to get paid are getting longer.
The Barclays survey highlighted a 20% increase in latepayments in the last year with the value of bills that are taking longer than30 days to settle rising by £1.7bn to £10bn.
The bank calculated that on the average day a small businessin England and Walesis owed £2,440.
John Davis, marketing director for Barclays Local Business,said that despite some positive signs in the economy the late payments problemwas becoming worse.
"This is a serious issue for the businesses we talkedto, around a third [32 per cent] say it threatens their day-to-day survival,”he said.
A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)said that its most recent survey on the issue back in April showed that 40% ofits members had seen payment times worsen.
“One in ten business failures are down to late payments.There is legislation that allows an SME to charge 8% above base rate oncontracts that are paid late but most are scare to do that,” said an FSBspokesman.