Expected postal disruption due to the snow may stretch cash reserves to breaking point for the three-quarters of British SMBs that still rely on cheques, according to automated-payments lobby group Bacs.
Bacs, whose members include 16 big banks and building societies, has issued a warning to British businesses in the wake of this month's big freeze and resultant Royal Mail announcement that 25,000 additional deliveries are needed by Christmas.
"Research from Bacs shows that British SMBs are already owed an average of £32,000 each in late payments," the lobby group said in a statement.
"This adds up to a massive national bill of £24.6bn. Currently, more than three-quarters (76 per cent) of Britain’s 1,683,000 SMBs receive payments via cheque, and with the expectation that many of these cheques will be sent by post, the national bill could rise to new heights over the coming weeks, if payments are delayed."
Snow and ice have already disrupted UK postal services, noted Bacs, which polled 477 financial directors, managing directors, and business owners by phone in June about payment practices.
"British businesses could be facing cash-flow misery this Christmas," it added.
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