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THE MP for Gosport is calling on the government to bring in tougher measures for large companies that fail to pay their bills on time.

Caroline Dinenage’s bid comes after research showed that 125,000 businesses were almost put out of business by late payment in 2011.

Speaking in the chamber at the House of Commons, Ms Dinenage, who is small business ambassador for the south, said, ‘Businesses in my region really welcome proposals in the Small Business Bill on prompt payment but with £46bn currently owed to businesses in the UK, up £10bn on last year, as the bill goes forward will the Minister consider making the code even tougher, and broadening it to more companies?’

Vince Cable, business, innovations and skills secretary, replied: ‘We will in the course of this bill be making it much more transparent; how larger companies in particular make their payments, helping small companies in that way.’

Ms Dinenage later said: ‘As a small business owner I know first-hand the problems a late payment can cause for small and medium-sized firms.’