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However, the new rules, which will legally require all large companies in the UK to report on their payment practices and policies which have been put off until October, to allow the government more time to get their IT systems up and running.

In March last year Matthew Hancock, then Business Minister, announced that large companies would be made to disclose their payment terms.

This would include the average time taken to pay suppliers – in 30 days or less, between 31 and 60 days, or beyond 60 days – the proportion of invoices paid beyond agreed terms, and any late.

Matthew Hancock, now Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, told The Mail on Sunday:
"There is a long history of Government IT projects that have fallen over and it’s far better to get these things right. I’ve been pushing for this for many years and I’m very proud to take it through Parliament."

Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, who is now responsible for the plans, has said that the tougher reporting laws will now begin in October – six months later than originally planned.

Ian Cass, head of the Forum of Private Business, which has highlighted bad practice in supply chains for more than a decade, including creating a ‘hall of shame’ of late-payers, said he was disappointed about the delay but pleased to hear that the rules would be implemented in October. Ian said:
"The publication of large firms’ payment practices is key to stopping them using their size and buying power to bully small firms."

Chris Bryce, head of IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, also regretted the delay, and said:
"Our research shows almost three-quarters of disputes between freelancers and clients are because of being paid late. Transparency around payment terms has the potential to drive a culture change on this issue."

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