Skip to main content

33% of SMEs are concerned about UK’s late payment culture

SMEs concerned about being paid

A recent survey released by Basware, financing services firm, and YouGov, the online research company, examines the effects of the UK’s late payment culture on small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

One in three of the manufacturing SMEs questioned claimed to have had their financial viability put at risk due to delayed payments.

A quarter of the respondents have been near bankruptcy because of payment issues within the workplace.

17% of firms were forced to fore staff due to financing problems, higher than the national average of 13%.

The survey notes that 53% of workers whose finances had been put at risk had had to rely on their own finances to keep their businesses running.

SMEs in the UK are responsible for employing 60% of the corporate workforce, with 16mn jobs across the nation.


The firms contributed £1.9trn to the UK last year, which covered more than half of all private sector turnover.

“SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy and critical to our competitiveness through Brexit,” stated Louis Fernandes, Country Manager of Basware UK.

“The UK needs to take steps to help SMEs improve productivity and realise cost savings where they can.”

“Technology will be important and we are seeing more and more firms come to us looking for help with payments automation and different financing models, but it’s clear that late payments cause massive issues for firms.”

“With 42% of manufacturing SMEs concerned over keeping their business afloat due to late payments, they need to see the government do more to help them get paid on time.”

The survey questioned 2,000 SMEs – companies with less than 250 members of staff – in the UK.