Trade industry bodies have come out of the woodwork lately demanding an end to late payment, one of the major thorns in the side of the self-employed in the UK.
It was a veritable who’s who at a Federation of Small Businesses-led cross-parliamentary round table recently, with representatives from the Institute of Directors and the Association of Independent Pofessionals and the Self-Employed all in attendance. Between the FSB, the IoD, and the IPSE, the alphabet soup of industry bodies came together over the importance of stopping late payment – one of the biggest ways large firms can bully SMEs, sole traders, and freelancers like umbrella company contractors.
It happens all the time – a big fish client or customer often has a sole trader come in and do some work for them, then drags its heels for weeks or even months in paying the worker for his or her time and effort. The prevailing thought at these large-scale firms is often little more than ‘they can wait,’ as there’s usually little to nothing a single entity can do in encouraging a massively sized company from making good on its promises. It’s all about power – and with contract workers not having much in this arena, the big fish more or less does whatever it wants, damn the consequences.
Some people say that it’s not really a problem, but these people are obviously idiots. In fact, the FSB has data to back up that claim – well not that they’re idiots, but that the problem of late payment is bigger than most people think. The IoD and the IPSE backed up the FSB on all points, going so far as to say that late payments to SMEs jeopardise the economic recovery in the country – especially in light of how much of a contribution SMEs have been making to the economic recovery efforts in the UK for years now.
For what it’s worth, it’s time to stop letting big firms walk all over what they see as their lowly contractors and interim workers. It’s high time that the contributions of SMEs are recognised and supported, and I’m all for throwing the full weight of the Government behind the idea of ending late payment and other sorts of bullying behaviour. Contractors and freelancers work way too hard to have these big firms take the piss out of them constantly in this way, and it makes me furious to think its’ still going on and nothing has been done about it even now.