The coronavirus lockdown has exacerbated the problems faced by smaller business in getting paid, said the UK’s Small Business Commissioner, Philip King, in the latest Working Capital Forum online meeting. King pointed out that, even before the crisis, more than half of UK SMEs were experiencing late payment by customers. The bad news was reflected in a poll of attendees, where the largest group, 46%, said their experience was that larger corporations had pushed out payment terms during the crisis.

At supply chain finance fintech provider Taulia, demand for early payment solutions had “definitely increased during the crisis”, said David Venables, the company’s UK director, with more than $4bn in early payments taken in March alone. Venables said that firms like Taulia were filling a need for working capital among smaller firms that found it hard to access capital in other ways. “The plumbing of our global financial system really works for big companies but not for small ones,”, he said.

The next Working Capital Forum online meeting is on  The other side of Covid – Funding supply chains for recovery.