But Business Secretary Vince Cable has kicked introduction of needed new legislation into the long grass beyond the next election.
Setting out his plans for greater transparency, Cable said: “The Government has taken action to create a responsible payment culture but we need to go further.
“We will now make it compulsory for large companies to publish information about their payment practices so that those who are not playing fair can be held to account.”
He added: “For too long too many large companies have been getting away with not paying their suppliers on time to maximise their profits. It is small business that is suffering as a result and it needs to stop.”
But the Government said that legislation to give force to a new reporting framework would be introduced ‘when Parliamentary time permits’.
Government’s threat to tackle late payment head-on caused the Construction Leadership Council to draw up a voluntary industry payment charter in the hope it could avoid forceful state intervention.
This commits firms to reducing payment terms to 30 days from January 2018 with interim stages of 45 days from June 2015 and 60 days with immediate effect.
So far just two main contractors Laing O’Rourke and Skanska have signed up to the commitments.
Despite, the charter’s failure to achieve full buy-in even from the leadership council’s own members, the Government praised the work as a model for other industries to follow.
Cable rejected calls for a blanket maximum legal payment period preferring to work with the UK various industries on voluntary codes.
The ‘Building a Responsible Payment Culture’ report says: “These will build on the example of recent good progress made in the construction sector.
“However, should we be unsatisfied with progress we are prepared to look again at a legislative approach.”
Its other proposals also include greater powers for ministers to investigate complaints raised by the Cabinet Office’s ‘Mystery Shopper’ scheme and acceptance of e-invoices by public authorities.