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No late payment help from the Government despite promises

Late payments, the bane of any contractor or freelancer’s existence, are going to continue to be a thorn in the side of the self-employed going forward.

The self-employed, who often have to wrangle payments out of larger firms they do projects for, had been hoping against hope that promises issued by the Government to make it easier for small businesses to get paid in a timely fashion, are left up the creek yet again after officials have shot down the idea. Freelancers are more than disappointed by the new development – or perhaps I should say the fact that it’s just business as usual – and trade industry bodies are already speaking out on the issue.

The Professional Contractors Group in particular has been vociferous in its condemnation of the decision to not provide at least some desultory support for small businesses in the UK. I can absolutely see where the PCG is coming from as well, as this newest decision is nothing more than a slap in the face to hard-working self-employed Brits who work hard to keep the economy afloat. Apparently asking for timely payment for their services is just asking too much!

The original plans to support contractors, which included a policy that would ‘name and shame’ larger companies that dragged their feet in paying their bills, was deemed to be too problematic by the Government. Likewise the idea of sanctioning the worst offenders was taken off the table, as was the idea of making the Prompt Payment Code compulsory. This leaves absolutely nothing when it comes to freelancers waiting patiently to receive their payments so they can pay their own operating expenses.

The PCG made it very clear that this is simply unacceptable, remarking that smaller British firms are, on average, receive their late payments after a massive stretch of 41 days. This obviously puts them in danger of ending up running into late payment penalties of their own on their own debts, and it’s more or less eroding confidence in the freelancing sector. It’s an obvious knock-on effect if you ask me; for what it’s worth if you told me there’s a good chance that it would be over a month on average before I received my late payments I wouldn’t exactly be too keen to jump into contracting either!

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