Specialist contractors are being urged by the National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC) to write letters to Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to show how damaging and far reaching the effects of late payment can be on SMEs within construction.

The government published a discussion paper, Building a Responsible Payment Culture, last year. This paper indicated that there is a culture of late payment in theUK, which particularly affects SMEs and in a wider sense is damaging to theUK economy. This recognition of a fundamental issue which NSCC says must be addressed provides a real opportunity for those within the construction industry to put forward what they believe can be done to change it for the better.  NSCC will be pushing the objectives of its Fair Payment Campaign, including certainty of payment, 30-day payment and the removal of retentions.

NSCC Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol said: “There is a real opportunity at this moment in time to fundamentally change the payment culture in theUK. The government wants to make theUKthe best place inEuropeto start, finance and grow a business. By addressing this issue [payment] now and making it socially unacceptable to pay late or withhold money without good reason, this objective can be achieved.”

NSCC has produced a template letter to make it as easy as possible for specialist contractors to respond. The letter could include personal examples that could highlight the direct costs incurred from employing additional staff to chase payments, securing overdraft facilities to support cash flow or paying other suppliers late.

Responses must be submitted by Friday 31 January to latepayment@bis.gsi.gov.uk