The National Specialist Contractors’ Council (NSCC) has welcomed the introduction of a new EU Directive that will see the principles of fair payment extended throughout Europe.
The Government has recently responded to a consultation it undertook last year on implementing
legislation to tackle late payment by businesses and public authorities across all EU member states. It
has confirmed that the Directive will be implemented into UK law on 16 March 2013 with contracts
concluded before this date excluded from the amended provisions to avoid businesses having to make
amendments to existing contracts.
The position taken by Government reflects the response submitted by NSCC in support of the
overarching proposals including maintaining 30-day payment terms for public sector projects as opposed
to stretching them to 60 days. Having recognised current UK practice as an exemplar, the Directive
essentially mirrors existing UK provisions and will create a level playing field for UK businesses trading in
other EU member states. The Late Payment of Commercial Debts Act will be amended to transpose the
requirements of the Directive although the current three tier charge for recovering debts will be retained.
The Government highlighted in its response the importance of accurate invoicing, establishing clear
payment terms in contracts and carrying out credit checks on potential customers, which is all part of the
guidance and support promoted to Specialist Contractors via by NSCC.
NSCC Chief Executive Suzannah Nichol said: “We are delighted that the Government has supported the new Directive which marks another significant step towards realising the principles of the Fair Payment Campaign. The UK Government is leading the way on fair payment and the new legislation will help SMEs in the construction industry to get paid on time across the EU, which will have a positive impact on the economy.”