Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal has pledged to fight the late payment practices of Smiths and Menzies, after RN’s research revealed the majority of retailers are affected by the refusal of voucher payments.

Speaking exclusively to RN, Uppal, who is tackling the issue with Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, said: “Late payments are the biggest impediment to business growth and we need to call big businesses like Smiths and Menzies to action. They don’t understand the human impact. 

“Small businesses aren’t growing if they’re chasing payment. My appeal is for small businesses to speak to us to provide ammunition to pursue claims on their behalf.”  

Uppal said businesses that fail to take action to fix late payments face being “named and shamed” and banned from all government contracts.

This comes as RN gave evidence to the government’s Cairncross Review on the importance of the UK newspaper trade. 

Every month, 31% of retailers experience delays in newspaper voucher payments, while 69% face credit refusals.

Pontefract retailer Ken Singh, who is a Menzies customer, told RN that delays cost him up to £200 a month. “I’m charged for stock I didn’t order and it can take 10 days to receive vouchers or credit back. It affects cashflow that could improve my store.”   

Another retailer told RN: “We do not make much money out of news and mags, but most, if not all, is swallowed up in admin time emailing Smith regarding the issues we have nearly every single day.”

According to NFRN news operation manager Peter Williamson, 542 complaints about missing Smiths, Menzies and Deliver My Newspaper vouchers were submitted between January and September this year. 

Additionally, some NFRN members claimed to lose more than £1,000 from their cashflow as a result of late voucher payments. 

Share your experience and help Paul Uppal take action against your news wholesaler: call RN on
020 7689 3358

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