52 per cent of Britain's smallest businesses are owed £44.6 billion in late payments between them.
The survey by Zurich of more than 1,000 small-and-medium sized business owners (SMEs) found that more than a fifth (21 per cent) are currently owed more than £25,000, while 9 per cent are owed more than £100,000.
Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) thought late payments were forcing some businesses to close down, and nearly a quarter (24 per cent) said late payments had caused them to dip into their overdraft in the past.
Commenting on the findings, Paul Tombs, head of small and medium enterprises proposition at Zurich, says: "In an environment where cash flow is key to small business survival, the situation is simply unsustainable.
"It is imperative that small business owners receive the support and guidance required and fair access to the funds that they are owed to secure the future of their businesses."
Our SME business experts at Beavis Morgan are available to structure your business with cashflow and profit forecasting to measure performance and maximise opportunities. We work to a pre-determined plan, to help you avoid any nasty surprises.
Through our partner businesses, BM Structured Finance and BM Advisory, we are also able to help with sourcing and restructuring debt finance for SME businesses, as well as assisting with resolving issues which can impact on business performance and success, and finding innovative solutions for businesses and individuals in distress.