Consultation outcome

Creating a responsible payment culture: a call for evidence on tackling late payment

This consultation has concluded

Download the full outcome

Detail of outcome

In the Call for Evidence, we asked questions themed around 3 different areas:

  • existing payment practices and experiences
  • existing measures to improve payment practices
  • new measures to improve payment practices

Respondents expressed a wide range of views and there was no real consensus, either on the extent of the issue or on the best solution to the problem. However a number of key themes emerged which provide a solid basis on which to act. We will introduce a broad package of policy measures that will:

  • increase Board level responsibility
  • unlock the benefits of technology for more SMEs
  • set clear standards of best practice

We will also consult on the merits of extending the powers of the Small Business Commissioner.

Detail of feedback received

We received 283 responses from all sizes of businesses, business representative organisations and individuals. As well as the online consultation we also held a series of roundtable events to seek views from stakeholders across the breadth of the country.

Respondents included:

  • business representative organisations / trade bodies
  • central government
  • charities or social enterprises
  • individuals
  • large businesses (over 250 staff)
  • medium businesses (50 to 250 staff)
  • micro businesses (up to 9 staff)
  • small businesses (10 to 49 staff)
  • trade unions or staff associations
  • local government

Original consultation


We're seeking views and experiences on the impact of unfair payment practices, and proposals for measures to create a more responsible payment culture.

This consultation ran from

Consultation description

In recent years government has taken steps to tackle the problem of late payment, introducing measures such as the Small Business Commissioner and the Payment Practices Reporting Regulations.

As of 2017, the amount owed to smaller businesses in late payments more than halved from the previous 5 years but we understand the need to go further to tackle unfair payment practices. The level of late payment debt owed to small and medium-sized businesses remains far too high and many small firms still have no choice but to trade on terms which are too long, imposed on them by larger customers.

This call for evidence seeks views on what more the government can do to create a responsible payment culture, including:

  • the current experiences of businesses in their payment practices
  • the impact of existing measures to improve payment practices and what more can be done to further refine measures and promote good practice
  • whether new measures should be introduced to further encourage a responsible payment culture


Creating a responsible payment culture: a call for evidence in tackling late payment

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Published 4 October 2018
Last updated 19 June 2019 + show all updates
  1. Government response published.
  2. First published.