THE RECESSION has had a devastating impact on businesses across the country – and Saddleworth’s own Ann Long fell victim as her family construction company was forced to close after 35 years.
Ann, her husband Harry and their daughter Janine offered mechanical services to local businesses until the economy forced them to take on much bigger cliental.
And it was the failure of those companies to pay their bills – around £100 and £150 a month – which forced the Longs into administration.
Ann, now retired, said: “Can you imagine losing a business after 35 years? It’s like losing a child.
“It’s not good and it’s not getting better. In fact it’s going worse – it’s just scandalous what goes on.”
The plight of the Longs and other local small businesses inspired Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams to launch ‘Be Fair – Pay on Time’ asking companies to sign the Prompt Payment Code.
Mrs Abrahams won a national Grassroots Diplomat award for the campaign and is continuing to push the remaining 50 top 100 FTSE companies to sign up.
She said: “Special mention should go to my constituents Ann and Harry Long, and their daughter Janine, who were the only business people who felt able to waive anonymity to help us illustrate the devastating impact late payments can have on SMEs.”
Ann added: “It was a bit too late for us, but at least she tried to do something about it.
“If the business had carried on, we would have had to put about another £250,000 into it and to do that it would have taken most of our savings.
“Since we’ve gone, about six of our friends have gone as well and they were in a similar position and another three have gone this week that I know of.”