Just 5% of specialist contractors are receiving payment within 30 days of completing work, it has emerged.
Getting invoices paid within a month still remains a challenge for the vast majority of UK contractors, according to the latest poll of companies belonging to the National Specialist Contractors Council (NSCC).
The NSCC, which counts CEDA as a professional member, said, however, that there were “encouraging signs” for contractors serving the public sector due to changes in payment procedures.
Out of the surveyed members carrying out public sector projects, 74% reported they were being paid within four weeks.
“This is encouraging, although with 30-day payment now a contractual requirement on central government contracts, there is still more work to be done to ensure that all specialist contractors benefit from the government’s commitment to prompt payment,” the organisation said.
The survey also revealed an improvement in trading conditions during the past three months, with contractors reporting an increase in enquiries for the third quarter in a row, up to a six-year high of 49%. Only 24% of contractors reported a decrease in enquiries.
Order levels are also up, with 44% reporting growth versus 27% last quarter.
Suzannah Nichol, the NSCC’s chief executive, said that it was good to see optimism returning to the market but warned that the issue of late payment threatened to undermine any growth.
“Successful long-term growth will only be possible if the industry solves the problem of late payment which continues to impact on the supply chain,” she said.