SME news in brief: late payments, high streets, retiring, Duty of Care

SME news in brief
SME news in brief

One third of SMEs say late payments affect their financial obligations

Around 48% of UK SMEs are frustrated with delayed payments reaching their business bank accounts. This is according to an online survey from YouGov and ACI Worldwide.

The findings reveal a number of ways in which delayed business payments are negatively affecting wider business success:

  • 33% of respondents say late payments affect their ability to meet financial obligations on time
  • 17% feel late payments have a negative impact on staff up-keep including salaries, expense reimbursement and recruitment
  • 10% note access to finance is limited for business requirements such as equipment, product development, and research.

High street SMEs warned against misleading deals and cramped spaces

10,000 people in the UK were asked what really gets their goat about high street shopping – with queues, misleading deals and cramped stores taking the top spots.

Around 42% of participants disproved a Great British stereotype, citing queues as their ultimate annoyance when it came to high street shopping – while deceptive offers came in second at 37%.

Cramped shops scooped a substantial 36% of the vote, with almost half of 18-24 year-olds claiming they were a nuisance.

While one resounding outcome of the survey by Sinso Retail Support saw Brits lay blame on their fellow shoppers, with 34% of participants citing other customers as their biggest gripe.

Misleading offers (37%) and poor access (20%) also come under fire, with the former proving especially unpopular with 35-44 year-olds.

UK workers expecting to retire later

Almost one in four UK workers say they expect to work past the age of 65 as a result of low interest rates. This is equivalent to 7.2 million UK employees, with poor returns on savings taking its toll on the nation’s retirement plans.

According to research by Canada Life Group Insurance, 23% of employees have seen their retirement plans affected by low savings rates since the 0.5% Bank of England base rate was introduced seven years ago. This includes 8% who did not want to work beyond 65 but have now resigned themselves to doing so, and 16% who had contemplated working past 65 but now believe low interest rates will probably push them to do so.

Overall, two thirds (67%) of UK employees expect to work beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. This continues to climb as the reality of a rising State Pensions Age and the abolition of the default retirement age in 2012 becomes clear (2015 – 61%; 2012 – 35%).

Campaign to get SMEs compliant with Duty of Care legislation

Recent evidence of widespread non-compliance with Duty of Care legislation for waste, introduced by the government in 1990, has led to the launch of a campaign to raise awareness of the law and its requirements. The ‘right Waste, right Place’ campaign is being managed by the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and is primarily aimed at informing smaller businesses about the law and their obligations, as research suggests that 94% of non-compliant organisations are SMEs.

ESA head of regulation Sam Corp commented: “The number of organisations actively involved with this project, representing a broad range of sectors, shows just how serious an issue Duty of Care compliance is. Very few organisations want to actively flout the law, but most are simply not informed about what they have to do.

“Unfortunately being uninformed is no protection from the law, and we believe that more companies will find themselves exposed to prosecution unless they take the right steps to comply. The right Waste, right Place campaign is designed to help fill the very evident knowledge gap, especially with SMEs.”