The Great Debate UK

from UK News:

Late payments send small businesses to the wall

By clamping down on credit, Britain's newly cautious banks are making collapse almost inevitable for many small to medium enterprise (SMEs) who need a financial cushion now, more than ever, as suppliers and customers struggle to pay bills as the economic downturn bites.

Small businesses in Britain, which employ over half of the private sector workforce and annually generate some 3 trillion pounds, typically depend on loans for working capital to tide them over during lean spells.

The latest research from the Bankers' Automated Clearing Service (Bacs), which processes direct debits for banks, showed a sharp rise in overdue payments, up 40 percent to 25.9 billion pounds last year from 18.6 billion in 2007.

Bacs, which found that the national average for outstanding payments increased 25 percent to 38,000 pounds in 2008, said SMEs waited an average of 41.5 days beyond agreed payment dates for invoices to be settled as firms -- especially those in the manufacturing and service industries -- struggled with cash flow problems.

from The Great Debate:

As Big Brother steps up, time for credit

James Saft Great Debate -- James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own --

Want to do well out of the rolling and ever expanding bailouts? Hold your nose, buy corporate credit and try not to read any news for the next five years.

First off, let's get one thing clear: the prospects for companies in Europe and the U.S. are absolutely awful and many will default, quite probably more than in any post-war recession.

from The Great Debate:

Revival of U.S. automaking awaits if UAW will follow Toyota

morici-- Peter Morici is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission. The views expressed are his own. --

General Motors and Chrysler are on the anvil of history. United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger holds the hammer and will determine whether they emerge more competitive or shattered in pieces and sold to foreign investors.