Bloomberg News

Umunna Urges Action Against Firms That Pay Suppliers Late

March 22, 2013

Chuka Umunna, the business spokesman for the U.K.’s opposition Labour Party, said the government should look at blacklisting large companies that delay payments to suppliers.

“Too many small businesses are effectively bankrolling bigger businesses that refuse to pay them on time,” Umunna said in a speech today to the Federation of Small Businesses in Leicester, central England. “The next Labour government will expose those who pay late and we will seek to put in place a regime that will automatically trigger action against late payers, perhaps by preventing them winning public contracts.”

Umunna, 34, also proposed banning energy suppliers from moving small businesses to more expensive tariffs without their consent and said gas and electricity companies shouldn’t be allowed to demand immediate full repayment from customers who fall behind on their bills.

Labour is trying to appeal to businesses for support after many turned against the party before the 2010 election. Its leader, Ed Miliband, said on March 14 that if elected, the party would create a network of regional banks to lend to companies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Robert Hutton in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at

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