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Business

Delaying payments could cost jobs

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ACCA NEW report from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants has found that the culture of late payment among businesses inhibits the ability of the UK’s smallest organisations to take on more employees.

Charlotte Chung, ACCA’s senior policy advisor on small and medium sized enterprise (SME) issues has said: “Microbusinesses and other small enterprises are less likely to increase headcount when faced with late payment. Compared to large corporates, we found that the effect of late payment on small businesses who want to expand was significantly greater, by 54% and 47% respectively.”

The report found that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are typically twice as likely as large corporates to report problems with late payment.

According to Charlotte Chung, the cumulative impact of persistent late payment on small business activity is significant.

“Late payment hurts individual businesses and the wider economy in a number of ways, from increased costs to reduced capital spending or suppliers going out of business. What’s more, its impact is exacerbated among credit-constrained businesses. Unsurprisingly, it is the headcount and investment decisions of smaller businesses that are most sensitive to late payment. Late payment and customer defaults can cascade down the supply chain, crossing industries and borders until they reach the most financially secure finance institutions, which in many cases involves the Government.”

While these findings may point to late payment being a wholly harmful business practice that requires hard action to remedy, ACCA advises care be taken by policymakers. The report identifies a very large share of business to business trade that makes use of credit – where payment is not made at the time when goods or services are delivered, but rather at a later date, usually agreed in advance by the two parties.

The important role late payment plays in economic growth means it requires a nuanced legislative touch from policymakers, as Charlotte Chung explains: “Late payment is often understood as a solely negative aspect in business, but this is not necessarily the case. It can also be a useful tool for business growth. Only when this complexity is understood can appropriate responses develop to address the aspects of late payment, which do impact negatively on businesses. ACCA has identified thirteen types of deviations from prompt payment, each of which calls for a different approach from businesses and policymakers. Failing to distinguish between them will lead to poor policies that run the risk of doing more harm than good.”

Along with outlining the thirteen varieties of late payment, the report includes a set of objectives for government intervention in the trade credit marker designed to deal with the negative aspects of late payment without compromising economic growth:

To dampen the systemic impact of late payment on the economy by encouraging ‘deep pockets’ (e.g. financial services firms or tax authorities) with a stake in the entire chain supply.

To ensure that the legal and policy frameworks around incorporation, financing, contracts and insolvency and are aligned in order to deal with different aspects of late payment promptly and in a consistent manner.

To encourage trade credit by giving suppliers a minimum level of protection against supplier dilution – i.e. the reassurance that even when customers fail they can still look forward to a minimum level of recoveries.

To ensure that businesses can look forward to a similar level of discretion in negotiating credit terms with their customers regardless of whether they are new or repeat suppliers.

To encourage the development of financial markets so that businesses have quick access to alternative financing options in response to charging terms of credit or unexpected late payment.

 

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Business

Freeport status ‘key’ to unlocking potential

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FREEPORT status for Pembroke Port could unlock a multitude of employment and economic opportunities for the local area.

That’s the belief of Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire Senedd candidate Samuel Kurtz.

While freeports are a Westminster policy, the Welsh Government are involved in the process but they have been far from enthusiastic over its potential benefits. 

Commenting, Cllr Samuel Kurtz said: “Freeport status for Pembroke Port would turbo charge the recovery of the local economy, helping to boost employment opportunities for people in Pembroke, Pembroke Dock and the local area.
“That fact that the Labour government in Cardiff have sat on their hands over freeports, while England has already announced its freeport locations, shows the party has little regard for helping the economy recover and grow. 
“This is a key policy that shouldn’t be overlooked simply because of party politics. Recovering from the effects of the pandemic needs collaborative work between Cardiff, London and local authorities.”  

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Business

Port of Milford Haven confirms compliance with National Marine Safety Code

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THE PORT OF MILFORD HAVEN has confirmed its compliance with the Maritime & Coastguard Agency’s Port Marine Safety Code (PMSC).

The confirmation comes following an audit by leading maritime consultants ABPmer.

The Port Marine Safety Code is a national standard that applies to all harbour authorities. The Code and its accompanying guidance provide an essential toolbox to ensure the control of risk and the maintenance of safety in ports and in the marine environment.

Port of Milford Haven’s Harbourmaster and Marine Director Mike Ryan is proud of the Port’s continued compliance with the Code.

“This is further endorsement and confirmation of everyone’s commitment here at the Port of Milford Haven to providing a safe operation for all port users,” said Mike.

Monty Smedley, ABPmer’s Lead PMSC Auditor, who conducted the audit, said: “I am very pleased to confirm to the Port of Milford Haven’s Board that their harbour operations demonstrated compliance with the requirements of the Code, with many examples that we considered to be industry best practice.”

The MCA’s Ports and VTS Policy Manager, James Hannon, who leads PMSC compliance for the UK government said: “The Code is recognised across the industry and has been developed in partnership by the UK government and industry over the last two decades. The resources set out how ports can assess risks, design safety management systems, and also install governance processes to ensure that a Designated Person is able to evaluate controls and report directly to port duty holders and boards.”

The Port of Milford Haven’s Board formally declares its compliance with the Port Marine Safety Code to the MCA every three years.

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Business

Pembrokeshire business encourages others to take advantage of free courses

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IN LIGHT of the recent Welsh Government announcement on the re-opening of the Welsh tourism sector, Wales. A Food Destination is running a number of masterclass sessions tailored for the hospitality sector.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project which specialises in supporting retail and hospitality businesses to source, serve and sell Welsh food and drink through cafes, restaurants, shops, farmers markets, food festivals, B&B’s and tourist attractions.

Throughout April virtual workshop sessions will take place, covering a variety of areas such as local food and drink pairing, breakfast menu inspiration, how to offer the best customer experience possible, through to creating an authentic local eating experience, with a particular focus on sourcing local ingredients.

According to Laura Alexander, co-coordinator for Wales. A Food Destination, the aim is to give a helping hand to those in the sector looking to source, serve and sell Welsh food in a post Covid world,

“It is great that we are able to offer such a diverse range of training opportunities to hospitality businesses in Wales as the sector prepares to re-open. We know that a lot of businesses have been closed for a long time now, and are looking forward to re-opening and refreshing what they have to offer. We are keen to support them with opportunities for learning.

“The masterclass sessions will hopefully assist businesses in recognising how our first rate produce can make their offer even more attractive and help in boosting the sector at such a crucial time.”

One business who have benefitted from attending one of the recent workshops is Melin Tregwynt, based in Haverfordwest.

“It was great to take the time to look at what we can do to prepare for whatever re-opening throws our way this year. Also to be able to access such a brilliant resource of recipes, information and ideas. Thank you to all involved in delivering these courses.”

The good news is that all courses are delivered virtually and are fully funded for any business who sources, serves and sells Welsh food.

For a full list of courses available, please visit https://www.foodskills.cymru/wales-a-food-destination/events/

Wales. A Food Destination project offers fully funded one-to-one consultations, so if you are a retail and hospitality business and are looking for support or advice then please contact Laura Alexander at wales@lantra.co.uk.

Wales. A Food Destination is a project funded by the Welsh Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020. Its aim is to support businesses source, serve and sell Welsh Food & Drink.

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