Last night I was delighted to be announced as the winner of the national Grassroot Diplomat Business Driver award for the Be Fair – Pay on Time campaign, which challenged the remaining 75 of the UK’s top 100 FTSE companies to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code.
The award was presented to me by Talyn Rahman-Figueroa, the Director of Grassroot Diplomat, last night at a ceremony held at the Vincent Rooms in Westminster, London, attended by MPs, members of the House of Lords, local councillors from across the UK and diplomats from across the world.
The Business Driver award is aimed at people in public office who have ‘actively participated in supporting small businesses, entrepreneurs and young people as one of the measures to recover from the economic downturn’.
In my speech last night, I said: “It’s such an honour to have been awarded the Grassroot Diplomat Business Driver award and I have to thank my partner organisations the Institute of Credit Management, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Forum of Private Business for their support.
“But special mention should go to my constituents Ann and Harry Long, and their daughter Janine, who were the only business people who felt able to waive anonymity to help us illustrate the devastating impact late payments can have on SMEs.
“If you imagine how many thousands of SMEs are affected by late payment the fact that only the Longs were able to ‘go public’ makes you realise the level of fear and control there is around this issue.
“Be Fair – Pay on Time isn’t about demonising big businesses; it is about trying to create a level playing field in the business world where SMEs, right along the supply chain, get treated fairly, are paid on time for the work they do and don’t have their payment terms changed once they are agreed.”
Last week Unilever wrote to me saying they will sign the ICM’s Prompt Payment Code which makes a total of 25 top 100 FTSE companies replying directly to the BFPoT campaign to say they will sign up.
That means the campaign has doubled the number of FTSE 100 companies who are signed up to the code, from 25 to 50 in total, since we first contacted them in July 2012.