Whitehall fails its own late-pay test | Business | The Sunday Times – The Times


When clients fail to pay on time, the tremors are felt throughout Paul Antino’s electrical contracting business.

“If you are getting paid later and later, you have to look at the jobs you can win, the people you can hire, the apprentices you can take on,” said Antino, 53, managing director of NRT, based near Sutton, southwest London. Sometimes he is forced to put his own cash into the firm, which has 69 staff.

For others, the impact can be more serious. Late payments force 50,000 small businesses to shut every year. Worrying about when cash will come through is one of the leading causes of mental health problems among entrepreneurs — and the biggest culprits are often government outsourcers that take public funds but delay…