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Viewpoint | 19 Mar 2020

Keeping the UK connected: Better payment terms for small businesses

As Vodafone Group announces a five-point plan to reassure customers, businesses and governments of its business continuity plans during the Coronavirus crisis, Nick Jeffery, CEO, Vodafone UK, sheds more light on the extra measures the company is taking in the UK.

Coronavirus is impacting all our lives. Our best wishes go to all those who are directly affected or have friends or family who have become ill. We stand ready to support you, our customers and staff, to ensure you and the UK as a whole, stay connected.

Yesterday, Vodafone Group set out five key priorities for our operating companies across the world as we grapple with the current health crisis:

1) Maintaining the quality of service of networks.
2) Providing network capacity and services for critical government functions.
3) Improving dissemination of information to the public.
4) Facilitating working from home and helping the small and micro businesses within our Supply Chain.
5) Improving governments’ insights into people’s movements in affected areas.

We in Vodafone UK are already putting a series of measures in place to deliver on this promise.

You can find out more about what we’re doing here and click through to a dedicated Coronavirus advice page we’ve set up for customers here.

Better payment terms

But on top of these extensive measures, we’ve decided to do more to try to help our smaller suppliers as we can see the impact this crisis is having on them.

With immediate effect, Vodafone has implemented a new policy for businesses that are most at risk within the supply chain. It ensures that, for the next six months, all new orders to micro and small suppliers who provide goods and services will be paid in 15 days.

And once this crisis is over, we will continue to abide by the Prompt Payment Code, ensuring small businesses are paid within 30 days. Because we know that in these difficult times cash flow is vitally important.

Access to learning resources

And with many schools in Europe closing, we’re looking at ways we can support young people across the UK. Connectivity will play an important role in giving children access to the educational resources they’ll need to continue their studies.

There is a huge variety of educational websites available and my team is assessing which ones we should make free to access.

We have already enabled all our mobile customers to visit NHS UK online websites (including NHS England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) for free, without it affecting their data allowances.

Working together

There is much more we want to do, some of which will work best if delivered across our industry where appropriate. We are committed to working with the other mobile providers to do all we practically can to support the fight against Coronavirus.

Until then, rest assured that we at Vodafone UK are doing everything we can to keep our staff safe, our customers well supported, and our networks resilient.