Latest returns from submissions to the Government’s Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performance indicate a slight improvement on past years.
The controversial self-reporting data, which is collated and published by trade body Build UK every six months, has been challenged by subcontractors who complain it is open to gaming because it is based on the number of invoices paid rather than value.
This means that if many small sums are paid promptly, large payments could still be delayed without seriously impacting payment records.
One told the Enquirer: “We know one main contractor is pushing through payments under £15,000 but is paying more slowly on larger sums.”
The top 43 main contractors are taking on average nearly 30 days to pay, a day faster than a year ago.
Also the average percentage of invoices not paid within terms improved from 19% to 16.5% compared to six months ago.
The Government is giving future contractor payment reporting laws extra teeth after coming under fire for not going far enough on corporate payment transparency.
Under the new rules due to come into force in 2025, there will also be a new value metric, so businesses can see the value of invoices, including invoices paid late, and a disputed invoices metric.
Contractors will also have to report retention records in their six monthly returns.