The Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 was brought in to provide a means of combating the problem of late payment between businesses. Under this legislation a late payment charge can be levied on overdue debts,  between £40 and £100. Late payment interest can be added at 8% above Bank of England base rate.

Our experience has been that courts will add late payment charges and a late payment interest to the amounts that they will order recalcitrant debtors to pay. However, debtor companies do not generally voluntarily make these payments: faced with a letter demanding payment including these items, they will generally do no more than simply settle the long-outstanding invoice.

In bringing in this legislation, the UK has been ahead of the EU.  There is an EU Directive on Combating Late Payment in Commercial Transactions, which member states are required to implement by 16 March 2013.

The Department of Business Innovation and Skills has announced a consultation on measures which are proposed with regard to the implementation in UK law of this EU Directive.

The BIS proposals include a new statutory maximum payment period of 60 days in B2B contracts, although the proposals on which BI S is consulting allow for that 60 day period to be extended, provided that the extended period is not “grossly unfair”. There are other exceptions where one of the parties to the contract is a public authority, and particularly a public authority providing healthcare.

BIS also asks whether the late payment charge (set by UK legislation at between £40 and £100) should be reduced to €40, being the minimum amount specified in the EU directive. It seems to me, however, that this would be a backward step, reducing what deterrent effect the existing legislation has.

The BIS consultation is open until 19 October 2012. Details are on the BIS website:

morning mandala

September 19th, 2012

Arriving in the office this morning, I saw this pattern on the carpet made by the low early autumn sun reflected off Ann’s waste-paper bin.

Is This Thing On?

September 13th, 2012

In June our client Nick Tann took voluntary redundancy from a secure job in IT, in order to focus on a career in music, both as performer and promoter.

Is This Thing On Productions is promoting its first event on Saturday 13 October 2013, at the Railway Arms in Winchester.  Nick will be compering an evening of music by four talented artists Anja McCloskey, Grant Sharkey, Seán McGowan and Steve Picken.  Nick will probably also perform a few of his songs.

This promises to be a very enjoyable evening, and we hope it will be a great success.  For more details, and to purchase tickets, please visit

Government cash back

September 7th, 2012

Working day in and day out with owner managed businesses has taught me how resourceful business owners can be. Whilst some are sat on their hands blaming business rates, banks and the weather many SME’s are spotting new opportunities, but often need a helping hand.

Over 20 years ago US economist David Birch demonstrated that fast growing SME’s create the most new jobs. This is what the Government wants us to do. But is the Government doing anything to help? Well , yes , a little.

The good news is that there is quite a lot of Government money ( our taxes) up for grabs and available to SME’s. Your business has paid the tax so go and get some of it back to develop and expand your commercial activities.

There are several hand outs currently available. Let’s start with the Growth Accelerator. If you are in the small business category,  ten employees or less, for an investment of £600 you can buy £3,500′s worth of training. It’s a doddle to apply . Go online complete the form , meet the local co-ordinator, pay your contribution and choose the training.

And there is more – sign up to Growth Accelerator and the door is opened to free workshops and seminars and subsidised management training.

Manufacturers should  be sprinting to to claim the MAS grants of up to £3,000. Not large sums but it will help pay for that CAD training you keep promising your team or can be used to buy in expertise to develop your marketing strategy.

R&D is essential for the future. As well as attractive tax incentives there is the Innovation Grant scheme. Go to for news of Government hand outs to support your research projects.

One more – remember the Apprenticeship Scheme is still on offer. Employ a new young trainee and claim £1,500.

Businesses themselves will drive us out of this recession, but a dollop of cash back from the Government is help worth having.


Graeme Quar


website re-launch

September 5th, 2012

We’re pleased to announce that our new website went live on 31 August.

The new site, which has been completely redesigned by our long-term partners Farrow Creative, features all-new photography, shot on location at our Fareham office. We’ve added brand-new sections providing information on our growing range of services, and there are several new faces on our team profile pages, too.

The changes reflect our growth and development as a firm – moving into new areas of work, such as the healthcare sector, taking on new fee-earners and support staff, and extending our geographical coverage further across the region. We’d love to know what you think of the new website, so please take a look and let us have your feedback.