The government's much-anticipated Business Bank got a kickstart of its own in the 2013 Budget, with the news that at least some of its measures are due to be introduced ahead of schedule.

But while a £300 million investment programme for SMEs was officially launched on April 10th by business secretary Vince Cable, just how far does it go to give small businesses the boost they need to grease the wheels of the UK's jammed economy?

Now we know that Debt Collection and Debt Recovery don’t have the best reputation in business markets, this is one of the reasons we take pride in displaying a small selection of the hundreds of client testimonials we have received over the last 30 years over on our testimonials page.

Nothing usual in that you may be thinking, but have you noticed that unlike some other agencies all of our references are clearly attributable to both a named company and an individual within that company?

Daring to speak out about late payment on Twitter could cost one woman £120,000 in fines and legal costs - all because of an unpaid £146 invoice.

The BBC reports that 55-year-old Lesley Kemp of Milton Keynes carried out £146 of transcription work for a company based in Qatar.

But when Resolution Productions paid her late - and expected her to cover the cost of their own £25 bank charges - Ms Kemp vented her frustrations on Twitter.

As a fully licensed debt collection company that has been incorporated since 1984, we have a long history in providing advice on how to choose an ethical and trustworthy debt collection partner. But unfortunately sometimes this message doesn't get through to those that really need it and many businesses up and down the country can find themselves unwittingly in bed with unlicensed, unregulated and unethical 'debt recovery' companies.

Sometimes, businesses fail.  If a failed company is a customer of yours it can be an expensive and potentially disastrous situation.

In most cases their will be little you can do, except wait and see if any money is left for creditors when the affairs of the company are formally finalised.

A married couple and their son have been banned as company directors after failing to pay more than £186,000 in tax.  Heather & Lance Shepherd and their son James Shepherd, who ran a company called Shepherd Security Ltd in Preston have been disqualified from acting as directors for a total of 15 years following an investigation by the insolvency service.

The Late Payments Directive, known more technically as Directive 2011/7/EU or the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013, came into force on March 16th and should mean better protection for businesses of all sizes - from freelancers to big brands, and including the public sector - when chasing late payments.

Generally speaking, the Directive puts 30-day payment terms on contracts where a longer deadline is not mutually agreed, and allows you to charge fixed fees, statutory interest, and reasonable recovery costs on any action you take after that deadline has passed.

At some point in the life of every business they will face difficulties in getting a client to settle an invoice.

Now you are faced with the very real prospect that this unpaid invoice may become a bad debt and bad debts can cripple an otherwise profitable venture.

Remember Dodgy Dave, the debt collector you don't want to meet? Well, we described that article as "a work of fiction" but warned "this kind of person is out there".

Now it seems Slippery Stu - or, to use his real name, Stuart Paul Cooper - is a real-world example of the kinds of debt collecting 'methods' we outlined in our Dodgy Dave article.

Take one technology, media and politics website. Add a 28-year-old online entrepreneur who used to be called Milo Wagner, but is now called Milo Yiannopoulos. Don't add any paid invoices to freelance contributors - these could leave a sour taste in the mouth. Finish with an unpaid editor and a legal claim for £16,853.

You've got The Kernel's secret recipe, and it's one that's been stewing for some time. Contributors have reportedly been disputing payments for several months, and an estimated £10,000 or more is still owed to past writers and in copyright claims to photographers whose works were allegedly used without permission.

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