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SMALL and medium-sized businesses have called for a new Fair Payments Charter to prevent more companies going out of business.

ISME today said that late bill payments were a major cause of bankruptcy and the main culprits, it said, were accountancy led big business and the State sector, who were delaying payments.

ISME said that State agencies, and in particular the HSE, were ignoring the instructions from the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton to pay all invoices within 15 days, leaving small businesses short of promised payments with which to pay their own suppliers.