Maude’s vow came as an ACE survey highlighted the problem of late payment in the consultancy sector.
Respondents revealed that slow payment and non-payment of invoices was continuing to cause cash flow issues, with some major organisations still adopting a “pay-when-paid” approach.
Late payment was compounding the problems of lack of access to affordable credit, downward pressure on fee levels and onerous procurement processes that prevent smaller suppliers from taking part.
Alan Bramwell, chair of ACE’s SME Forum, said: “Despite the government’s very public commitment to improved payment rates, we still have a long way to go.
“For smaller businesses, interruptions to cash flow can be extremely serious. All organisations, both public and private sector, have a duty to honour the terms of their contractual agreements and pay their bills on time.”