THE East Thurrock MP has called for an end to the “tyranny” of late payments to businesses.

Opening a debate in Parliament, Stephen Metcalfe said late payment is a huge problem.

The MP’s comments come after Thurrock Council was attacked by local Conservatives for failing to pay 20 per cent of their invoices on time.

Mr Metcalfe said: “Late payment is an endemic problem. “This has got to change, not only for the benefit of the enterprises in question, but for our economy as a whole.

“This is not just a commercial problem, it is an ethical one.

“Small and medium enterprises are the backbone of our economy and we must make it clear to big businesses and public sector bodies it is simply not acceptable to pay outside agreed terms.”