FSB calls on European Commission to ‘end late payments culture’

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has called on the European Commission (EC) to ‘up its fight’ in order to put an end to the late payments culture.

In a new report, the FSB revealed that 85% of small businesses that operate within European supply chains are paid late.

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Despite the introduction of the EC’s Late Payment Directive, which outlines maximum payment terms of 60 days, 22% of businesses reported that they have been subject to payment terms of more than 60 days.

An additional 12% of firms have been asked for a discount in return for prompt payment, the FSB found.

The business group is calling for small firms’ legal protection to be ‘strengthened’ against lengthy payment terms, and for sector-specific ombudsmen to be appointed for industries that ‘are most at risk of late payments’.

‘Poor payment culture is a problem without borders, damaging small businesses in the UK and across Europe,’ said Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB.

‘Even with the UK leaving the EU next March, the reality is that the EU single market will remain the biggest market for British small firms for the foreseeable future. This is why it is vital that a culture of prompt payment flourishes across Europe.’

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Multinationals to be required to disclose tax affairs

The European Union (EU) is set to unveil new proposals that will require large companies to reveal their tax affairs as part of an effort to reduce corporate tax avoidance.

The rules, to be presented by the European Commission today, will affect multinationals that generate £600 million or more in sales, and come after the criticism of the use of tax havens following the Panama Papers revelations.

Companies will have to reveal the amounts of tax that they pay on a country-by-country basis, along with any activities undertaken in tax havens.

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Mining and forestry companies, as well as banks, are already required to abide by country-by-country tax reporting rules.

The introduction of such rules for multinational companies will mean that 90% of corporate firms operating within the EU will be affected.

Business groups have expressed concerns that the rules will require them to reveal their profits to both the tax authorities and the general public.

Additionally, the proposed rules have been met with considerable opposition from businesses based within America, who have claimed that the EU is targeting profitable US companies.

The EU’s financial services commissioner, Lord Hill, said: ‘This is a carefully thought through but ambitious proposal for more transparency on tax’.

European Commission tells UK to rein in housing boom

03 Jun 2014

The Help to Buy scheme, council tax and house building all require reform, says the European Commission (EC), as average UK house price reach an all-time high.

The EC called for Chancellor George Osborne to ‘deploy appropriate measures’, adding: ‘The authorities should continue to monitor house prices and mortgage indebtedness and stand ready to deploy appropriate measures, including adjusting the Help to Buy 2 (loan guarantee) scheme.

Reforms to the taxation of land and property should be considered to alleviate distortions in the housing market. At the moment, increasing property values are not translated into higher property taxes as the property value roll has not been updated since 1991 and taxes on higher-value property are lower than on lower-value property in relative terms’.

Nationwide reported that house prices have risen for the 13th consecutive month, bringing them to an average of £186,512 – higher than the previous peak in 2007 before the financial crisis.

The EC report said the UK needs to ‘remove distortions in property taxation by regularly updating the valuation of property and reduce the regressivity of the band and rates within the council tax system’.