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The Analysis News & Opinions


A cure for a ‘broken’ housing market?

Warning over late- payment reporting

There is no one silver bullet to solve the UK’s ‘broken housing market’.

So we welcome the Housing White Paper as a positive first step towards a more joined-up approach to housing and, we hope, the beginning of a coordinated government strategy.

A housing market that meets the needs of all citizens must include a mix of tenures; recognising renters’ needs as well of those aspiring to buy makes far more sense than making home ownership the single priority.

However you cut it, we do not have enough homes in the UK. The causes are complex, so it is good to see a white paper which recognises this, but we look forward to receiving more detail in the coming weeks and months.

It is encouraging to see the government pledge support in this white paper for offsite construction, in particular Modern Methods of Construction as we have called for. A cross-party approach is needed to practically deliver this.

It is time to turn plans into action. We will continue to work closely with government to help provide more UK homes and ‘fix’ the broken housing market.

Paul Broadhead

Head of mortgage policy, the Building Societies Association

The credit industry has welcomed new government guidance aimed at explaining, to large businesses, how they should report on how quickly they pay their suppliers, however analysts insist the guidance will require enforcement to be effective. The regulations confirm that, from April 2017, large companies and limited liability partnerships will have to report, publicly, twice a year on their payment practices and performance, including the average time taken to pay supplier invoices. Failure to report will be a criminal offence. Andrew Tate, president of R3, said: “We welcome the new guidance, which we hope will encourage better practice in making prompt payments to suppliers, safeguarding the cashflows and the survival of SMEs. “Our research in 2016 found that late payment for goods or services was a primary or major cause in 23% of insolvencies, a proportion more or less unchanged from 2014, showing this is an ongoing concern for too many SMEs. We hope the government’s requirement that large companies report on their payment practices and performance will give much-needed transparency and confidence to smaller suppliers.” Jacqueline de Rojas, managing director of UK, Ireland and Northern Europe at Sage, added: “Our small business customers across the country tell us that late payment is still one of their biggest barriers to competing with larger suppliers. We know it impacts their ability to invest and innovate. And when you consider that people building these businesses create two-thirds of all new jobs, it is easy to see what a detrimental effect this could have on the financial health of the nation.

“Through partnerships, advice and digital tools, we work hard to help small businesses manage cashflow challenges, and this new light-touch regulation is good news for them.

“This is a welcome move in the right direction to creating a stronger, fairer economy and making the UK the best place to start and run a business.”


Recent findings from the payment processor Bacs report that nearly half of the UK’s small-to-medium sized businesses experience late payment, with £26.3bn owed to them in total.

The report is part of the government’s wider modern industrial strategy green paper, which aims to “build an industrial strategy that addresses long-term challenges to the UK economy. Our aim is to improve living standards and economic growth by increasing productivity and driving growth across the whole country”. Responses to this green paper are requested until 17 April 2017.

Mike Cherry, national chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses, added: “The new duty to report is the centrepiece of the government’s transparency agenda to combat poor payment practice.

“We welcome this as an important tool to change a UK business culture where it is deemed acceptable to pay small firms late. We estimate that if payments were made promptly, 50,000 business deaths could be avoided every year, adding £2.5bn to the UK economy.

“It is now crucial that these regulations are introduced and robustly enforced with proper sanctions put in place for any large business that tries to hide its payment practices.”

March 2017

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