Screwfix among 18 businesses named & shamed for late payments

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Screwfix
// Screwfix emerges as the only retailer on a list of 18 companies shamed for late payments
// It has been suspended from the government’s Prompt Payment Code for failing to pay suppliers on time
// AB World Foods, which shares the same parent company as Primark, is also on the list

Screwfix has emerged as the only retailer on a list that names and shames businesses for failing to pay suppliers on time.

The hardware and tools retailer was among 18 companies that were found to be taking longer than 60 days to make payments, according to the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

AB World Foods, which is owned by the same parent company as Primark, was also listed.

Other firms on the list include BT, Domino, BAE Systems and Prudential.

These businesses have now been suspended from the government’s Prompt Payment Code, which means they can no longer use government branding or say they are signatories of the code and must now work with the CICM to get reinstated.

The suspensions come after 17 other businesses, including Vodafone, were removed or suspended in April.

CICM chief executive Philip King, who administers the code on behalf of the government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department, said: “We will continue to challenge signatories to the code if the obligatory Payment Practice Reporting data suggests that their practices are not compliant.

“We are encouraged that of the 18 who have been suspended or removed today, all but one has already submitted action plans to achieve future compliance, and we are working closely with those businesses to support a better payment culture.”

The one company which has not submitted a plan is AB World Foods.

Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “As a former small business owner I know how damaging late payments can be.

“Although the vast majority of businesses pay their bills on time, we recently announced ambitious new measures to level the playing field for small businesses as part of our modern industrial strategy.”

The government has vowed to crack down on late payments, although critics have said ministers have not done enough to properly fund the scheme or put in place strict enough deterrents.

One new rule due to start in September means any supplier who bids for a government contract above £5 million a year will be expected to answer questions about their payment practices and performance.

If they are unable to demonstrate that they are paying 95 per cent of invoices within 60 days, they may be excluded from the process.

“Large companies who are not currently meeting the Code Standards need to note their unethical payment practices will not be tolerated,” Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal said.

“The suspension of those who are failing to meet their obligations demonstrates Government is committed to ensure small businesses are treated fairly.”

Screwfix is operated by Kingfisher.

A spokesperson from the retailer said: “Since signing up to the Prompt Payment Code in 2012, Screwfix has improved payment terms for all small and medium suppliers who are paid within 30 days.

“In addition, all suppliers who supply goods not for resale are also paid within 30 days.”

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