Business owners depressed and suicidal due to late payment

Business owners depressed and suicidal due to late payment

Industry-wide survey shows impact of late and unfair payment on mental health in construction

A remarkable nine out of 10 business owners across construction suffer a range of mental health issues due to payment and other business pressures, according to a survey run by leading engineering services trade bodies ECA and BESA.

Unfair payment practices also have a significant impact on employees right across a business, including CEOs, directors, managers and executives. Of all the respondents, four said they had attempted suicide as a result, while 80 per cent reported a mental health issue.

The new survey, conducted in association with 25 other construction trade bodies, found that business owners have an array of significant mental health problems due to the pressures of late or unfair payment.


Furthermore, over four in 10 (41 per cent) of all respondents said that payment issues had strained their relationship with their partner, with five per cent reporting it caused it to breakdown entirely.

ECA Director of CSR Paul Reeve commented:“These problems quickly knock on to employees and families alike. Findings such as these mean that clients and other buyers need to greatly improve their approach to supply chain payment and it’s a sad reflection on the industry that it will probably take legislation to achieve it.” 

BESA CEO David Frise commented: “Systemic payment abuse causes broken lives and broken buildings and must be stamped out. The economic damage of these practices is well known but this survey has shed light onto its devastating human cost. Thousands of owners and workers of SMEs have struggled and suffered with this abuse for too long and with a General Election underway they will be reflecting upon who will most likely represent their concerns.”

Over nine in 10 respondents (92 per cent) said their business had faced payment issues. Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) said they were paid late frequently or very frequently.

ECA Director of Business Rob Driscoll concludes: “The next Government must take immediate action on cash retentions and other payment abuses, by legislating for change. Doing so will help to address the serious findings in this survey and actually help construction to achieve its aspirations of delivering excellence for clients and being an industry that’s attractive to new talent.”




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