Events industry welcomes late payment inquiry

The events industry has welcomed a parliamentary inquiry into late payment by the Forum of Private Business.

Simon Hughes, Eventia
Simon Hughes, Eventia
The Forum of Private Business will give evidence at a cross party parliamentary inquiry in to late payment next week, chaired by Labour MP Debbie Abrahams.

The inquiry will examine how serious the problem has got for SMEs, but will also look at other issues around poor payment practices, including so called ‘invoice haircutting’. 

Eventia chairman Simon Hughes said the issue has been raised recently by a member of the association who said his company had suffered significantly from late payments by corporates.

"We’re discussing the issue with other organisations including the British Chamber of Commerce to gain their input on ways to handle the issue," he added.

Bluehat’s commercial director Ben Parkinson said that big corporations are often the worst payers due to protracted procurement systems and an incentive to keep money in the bank as long as possible for their own benefit.

"Three months is a long time to be waiting on payments of tens of thousands of pounds and can make life difficult for event companies. It’s a very short term strategy from large corporates who may ultimately lose the good will of a valuable supplier network," he added.

Hughes agreed, adding that stricter laws are needed to incentivise corporates to tighten up their payment processes. "This would benefit both parties’ relationships in the long run," he added.

The inquiry will hear evidence from four panels, each of which will be questioned for around 40 minutes by parliamentarians.

Alex Jackman, the Forum’s head of policy, said: "Late and slow payment amounts to little more than supply chain abuse, that is big business bullying small firms to boost their own profit margins. 

"We know from recent high profile examples that the situation, far from improving, is spiraling out of control. Hopefully this investigation can shine a light on the issue and expose the real and serious problems it causes small business."

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