Avoiding the late payment precipice—the Enterprise (Bill) strikes back

Avoiding the late payment precipice—the Enterprise (Bill) strikes back

In amongst the usual pomp and circumstance of the Queen’s Speech last week, some fundamental changes to our commercial landscape are afoot. One such potential change is proposed under the Enterprise Bill: the Small Business Conciliation Service (‘SBCS’).

The government hopes this service will tackle the ever-increasing problem of late payment without the need for court action.

Late payment is one of the biggest issues confronting small businesses today, who rely on their cash flow to support growth and operations. If a business does not pay a supplier on time this may have a critical, if not fatal, impact on the enterprise.


The powers that be have done their research and will base the proposed SBCS on the already successful model used in Australia: the Australian Small Business Commission. The Australian Commission’s raison d'être is to “avoid expensive court proceedings and maintain business relationships by reaching mutually satisfactory agreements”, mainly via mediation.

As well as the many advantages to small firms in trading with the big boys (financial being one) there are numerous pitfalls, as identified by the new Secretary of State f

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