“It’s never better late”


UK Small Business Commissioner visits Belfast for launch of FSB’s Prompt Payment Scorecard

As businesses struggle with an almost unprecedented set of challenges, the need for invoices to be paid on time has never been greater. To shine a spotlight on the issue, FSB Northern Ireland has published the first Prompt Payment Scorecard, which sets out the payment performance of the eleven local councils and other public bodies across Northern Ireland, and the UK’s Small Business Commissioner has made her first visit in the role to come to Belfast for the launch.

Speaking about the need for better payment performance, the Small Business Commissioner, Liz Barclay, said:

“There is a legal requirement for invoices to be paid within 30 days. “If the goods or services have been delivered then the business should be paid in a timely way.”

“If invoices remain unpaid, businesses can charge interest and compensation – but even this remedy adds to the burden and also risks damaging commercial relationships. “Instead, we should be encouraging and demanding a culture of prompt payment and I welcome this initiative by FSB NI to help understand the problem and what needs to be done about it.”

FSB NI’s Policy Chair, Alan Lowry said:

“Many businesses cite ‘cashflow’ as one of the key issues affecting them, and late payment drives businesses to the wall every year; that’s unacceptable. “This FSB initiative, to establish a Prompt Payment Scorecard that shows the payment performance of public bodies, is a valuable tool in understanding the scale of the problem and focusing on how payment speeds can be improved.

“The issue doesn’t just lie with public bodies, but they have a particular responsibility in this area, not only because they are required to report on their performance and because they are spending public money, but because they can act as role models and prompt payment champions.

“Some people say it’s ‘better late than never’ – we don’t agree. “Around a quarter of a million public sector invoices in Northern Ireland were paid late last year. “That’s simply unacceptable – it’s never better late, as delay can destroy businesses.”

Read the FSB-NI-Prompt-Payment-Working-Paper-and-Scorecard-October-2022