Credit Control

A company with links to a prominent Conservative peer that secured a fast-track government PPE contract during the COVID pandemic has been slapped with a winding up petition by HMRC.

PPE Medpro Ltd was incorporated on 12 May 2020, just days after Tory peer Michelle Mone contacted procurement minister Theodore Agnew with an offer to source personal protective equipment for the NHS from Hong Kong. Mone took the step having apparently first consulted Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.

Within six weeks, the company was handed two separate contracts worth a total of £200 million. As part of the government’s ‘VIP lane’ fast-track scheme to supply the NHS and care sector with enough personal protective equipment at the height of the pandemic, PPE Medpro did not have to go through a competitive tender for either contract.

Fans of comic book spin-off magazines and collectibles are mourning the news that Eaglemoss Ltd has filed for administration under the burden of massive post-pandemic debts.

In operation since 1975, Eaglemoss had grown into a leading specialist in licensed collectibles, producing, marketing and selling merchandise for cult film and TV series like Dr Who, Star Trek, Ghostbusters and DC Comics.

In particular, it is recognised as the world’s biggest name in so-called part works publishing -  a sub-category of the magazine industry that focuses on serialised, collectible publications with time-limited runs. Part works publications are often accompanied by free gifts for readers to collect. 

The new head of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has told the government the UK’s late payment culture is hurting the ability of SMEs to deal with spiralling costs.

In an audience at Number 10 Downing Street, Martin McTague, who was appointed chair of the Federation in March, spelled out his concerns about the economic challenges facing the UK’s five million small businesses.

High on the list was the on-going issue of late payments, which McTague said was holding back post-COVID recovery in the SME sector and causing unnecessary financial distress as inflation hit a 40 year high

The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) Liz Barclay fears the UK’s late payment crisis “could get worse before it gets better.”

Speaking to the Federation of Small Business’s First Voice podcast, Ms Barclay conceded that more and more small businesses were suffering as a result of late payments “in the current climate”, and was not optimistic about the situation improving any time soon.

One in four freelancers are thinking about ditching self-employment because of problems getting paid on time, according to new research.

In a survey carried out by payment platform WondaPay, 24% of freelancers said they were considering looking for permanent employment because of persistent problems with late payments.

More than 400,000 small businesses in the UK are at direct risk of going under as late payments continue to rise.

Thursday, 25 November 2021 13:54

Let Your Voice Be Heard on Late Payments

Fed up of clients who refuse to stick to agreed payment terms? Feel like you're being held to ransom by large customers who insist on making suppliers wait two or three months before they pay for goods or services received?

The government’s Small Business Commissioner (SBC) wants to hear from you. The Commissioner’s office, which is part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is holding a consultation on SME’s experiences of late payments that closes on 15th December.

As the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep through the economy, latest figures show that SMEs have been hit by a 20% surge in late payments over the past 12 months.

According to research from cloud-based credit management platform Know-It, the total value of overdue invoices UK-based small businesses are now waiting on has leapt to £61 billion, a sharp rise from the no less eye watering figure of £50bn reported in 2020.

In our last blog, we highlighted some of the dangers businesses face from fraudulent operators posing as legit companies, but whose real intention is just to rip you off.

So what can you do to avoid these risks? The answer is all about due diligence and knowing exactly who you are dealing with before you make a payment or sign a contract. Nowadays, formal ‘Know Your Customer’ or KYC background check services are available as byproducts of strict anti-fraud regulations in the financial industry.

But as useful as such services are, there are simple things every business can do directly for themselves to check out the credentials of any potential new client or supplier. Here are three simple steps to take to avoid being ripped off.

With incidents of fraud on the rise over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all having to be even more vigilant in our dealings, especially online.

But while the risks of phishing scams and lax digital security are well known, companies are still very much at risk from a more traditional approach to con artistry - doing business with cowboy operators whose primary aim is to rip you off.

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