Housebuilder McCarthy & Stone has hit out at late payment in the industry, saying it ruins business relationships.
The firm said it wanted to set an example of best practice in the industry and had drawn up a business charter for all its subcontractors to follow.

The charter is designed to safeguard McCarthy & Stone's relationships with its suppliers and subcontractors. The firm has promised to pay all valid invoices on time and said it would not withhold large payments for minor queries without justification.

Keith Lovelock, the housebuilder's chief executive, stressed that the firm would not become a soft touch for subcontractors to exploit. He said it would still be demanding, but in return would give its full commitment to suppliers.

Lovelock said: "At McCarthy & Stone, we are determined to not let this British disease [late payment] affect the excellent relationships we have with our own suppliers."

He added that in Britain too many small companies close because clients deliberately hold back payments or expect the impossible from main contractors.

Lovelock said McCarthy & Stone's charter would encourage suppliers to enter into a true partnership with obligations on both sides.