Morrisons vows to pay small suppliers immediately to avoid coronavirus impact

Morrisons has become the first major UK supermarket to agree to pay all small suppliers immediately to ensure businesses do not collapse due to coronavirus.

Bosses at the grocer said it would also temporarily change the way it classifies “small suppliers” to any firm with an annual turnover of under £1 million, compared with £100,000 previously.

Chief executive David Pottssaid: “We are Britain’s biggest single food-maker and we want to be there for the smaller food-makers, farmers and businesses that supply Morrisons.

“We’re a British family business and we will be doing our best to support them through this challenging period.”

Morrisons stock
Morrisons chief executive David Potts said he wants to ensure small suppliers can survive the virus outbreak (Mikael Buck/Morrisons/PA)

The new rules will be reviewed at the end of May but until then the small suppliers will receive instant payment – subject to bank clearing times – instead of the current 14-day period.

Increasing the threshold will mean an extra 1,000 small food businesses will qualify for the new payment terms, the supermarket added.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “These measures will support our farmers and food producers in their vital work of feeding the nation.

“We already have a highly-resilient food supply chain in this country and I am continuing to work closely with Morrisons and other retailers on their response to coronavirus.”

The changes will be implemented from next week and comes as supermarket bosses say supply chains remain unaffected and urge customers to not panic-buy in order to ensure enough stock for all shoppers.

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