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Labour's Late Payment Policy Is Not Only Fair - It Will Be Good For The Economy

11/04/2017 08:59 BST | Updated 11/04/2017 08:59 BST

One thing that start-up businesses like mine need is certainty. The certainty of getting paid for our work so we can pay our staff, plan ahead and be profitable.

Companies can have full orders books. But if clients fail to pay on time, they drive them out of business.

I often hear politicians say that fledgling businesses like mine are the backbone of our economy. But the government is failing to protect us by refusing to stop the scandal of big businesses withholding more than £26 billion from suppliers.

That's why Labour's war on late payment is just what small businesses like mine want to hear.

Action on late payments to small businesses has been long overdue, it is unacceptable that, on average, small businesses wait 72 days for pay. I run an 'engagement at work', survey business called The Human Energy Organisation, and we have been working extremely hard to make the launch a success. Late payments threaten our ability to cover our businesses' costs and to invest for growth, and risks forcing us out of business before we get established.

It seems many other small business owners face a similar struggle. In 2015, the Federation of Small Businesses' survey of its members found 51% had experienced late payment in the previous 12 months. It may seem so obvious that it doesn't need stating, but we can't run a business unless we are paid for our work. The government's inaction suggests they don't share our view, otherwise they might have done something to address the problems sooner.

Small businesses play a vital role in UK job creation, there are five of us in the Human Energy business and the threat to small businesses of late payments puts us all at risk.

The government's failure to tackle the scandal of late payments is stopping businesses like ours from growing and forcing 50,000 companies out of business each year. Despite late payments killing jobs and holding back economic growth, they are yet to act.

Today's announcement that the next Labour government would require any company bidding for a public sector contract to pay its own suppliers within 30 days and would look at introducing for the private sector a system of binding arbitration with fines for persistent late payers is welcome news.

Labour's policy is not only fair, but good for economic growth.

Small businesses contribute billions of pounds to our economy a year, but the government's giveaways to big corporations at our expense is threatening to crush us.

By promising not to increase the corporation tax rate for small businesses and scrapping the planned introduction of quarterly reporting for micro businesses, Labour is making sure taxes would fall on those with the broadest shoulders, rather than small business owners who strive to make a living from self-employment.

The government's disregard for the needs of the self-employed was shown when they attempted to introduce a £2.5billion NIC tax hike in the Autumn Statement. Working people are our country's real wealth creators, and the government's approach to the economy is running down our country. As they offer tax breaks to their billionaire friends, ordinary working people are being hit.

I am glad that Labour is standing up for small businesses and sending a clear message that big corporations can't expect us to subsidise their cash flow.

Paying on time isn't just morally right. It's good for business and the economy.