Debbie takes her late payment fight to Parliament

AFTER WINNING a national award for her initiative to help small companies, Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has extended her fight to the House of Commons.

Debbie received the first ever Grassroot Diplomat Business Driver award earlier this year for her Be Fair – Pay on Time idea, which challenges top companies to settle their bills on time.

CAMPAIGNING: MP Debbie Abrahams
CAMPAIGNING: MP Debbie Abrahams

And now she has convened an inquiry in London as she pushes even harder to reduce late payments and help keep small and medium-sized enterprises afloat.

Politicians all from parties attended to hear the problems suffered by SMEs as business experts were questioned on the economic impact and give their recommendations.

Debbie, who chaired the inquiry, said: “The standard of the testimony was excellent and really gave our MPs a clear, and sometimes emotional, picture of the scale of the problem.

“I know from talking to business men and women that SMEs in Saddleworth and across the country are suffering acutely as a result of late payment, with many firms’ survival being put at risk by cash flow problems.

“I believe large companies and Government agencies have a moral duty to pay suppliers promptly and not to change pre-agreed payment terms.”

Since launching the Be Fair – Pay on Time campaign in July 2011, Debbie has doubled the number of FTSE 100 companies signed up to the Prompt Payment code to 50.

But with £30.2bn owed to over a million SMEs in late payments, Debbie is determined more should be done to create a fair system.

“Many large companies are deliberately paying late or extending their pre-agreed payment terms simply because they have the power to do so,” she said.

“We owe it to our SMEs and entrepreneurs to treat them fairly.”

Recommendations from the inquiry will be published in the summer. Find out more about Debbie’s Be Fair – Pay on Time by visiting her website: http://www.debbieabrahams.org.uk/

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