2019 Spring Statement – Chancellor provides update on plans to tackle late payments

In his 2019 Spring Statement, Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined detailed plans to tackle the issue of late payments in the UK.

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The Chancellor reiterated the government’s commitment to combat the ‘scourge of late payments’ for UK small businesses. Mr Hammond announced that, going forward, company audit committees will be required to review payment practices and report on them in their annual accounts.

Commenting on the announcement, Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the Institute of Directors (IoD), said: ‘We are delighted the government has taken forward the IoD’s specific proposal to tackle late payments. This is a thorn in the side for many small firms, and the reform will ensure the issue gains the board-level attention it deserves at big companies, without compromising good corporate governance.’

A full response to last year’s call for evidence on the issue will be published by the government ‘shortly’.

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Almost a third of UK businesses ‘looking to relocate abroad due to Brexit’

A survey conducted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) has found that nearly a third of IoD members are looking to move their operations abroad due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

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The survey of 1,202 company directors also revealed that more small firms are looking to relocate than previously anticipated. 15% of small firms are ‘actively considering’ setting up operations outside of the UK. Furthermore, 8% of small businesses have already relocated overseas, while 4% plan on doing so.

Of those looking to relocate, 69% stated that they plan on setting up operations in the EU; 22% are considering setting up in both EU and non-EU countries; and 7% are seeking to relocate to non-EU countries.

Commenting on the survey, Edwin Morgan, Interim Director General of the IoD, said: ‘While the actions of big companies have been making headlines, these figures suggest that smaller enterprises are increasingly considering taking the serious step of moving some operations abroad.

‘We still have a chance to stem the flow, and provide enough certainty to the firms that are considering moving but haven’t yet done so.

‘The UK’s hard-won reputation as a stable, predictable environment for enterprise is being chipped away. Our political leaders must keep this in the front of their minds as we enter this critical phase of negotiations.’