Earlier this week the Prime Minister promised to crackdown on the issue and launched a consultation on the continuing problem of late payment, and its detrimental affect on the UK’s SME businesses.

In his letter Scanlon welcomes the move, and says: “Perhaps he [David Cameron] would mention this to Lin Homer, chief executive of HM Revenue & Customs, which was 20 days late in paying an undisputed value added tax refund of £261,788 to our group last month and is currently nine days late in making a further undisputed payment of £933,860.”

Scanlon told PrintWeek that government departments should be brought into the Prompt Payment Code, which at present is aimed at big businesses dealing with smaller companies.

“A lot of print companies are net recipients of VAT and HMRC takes so long to pay it. If it was the other way around we would be suffering surcharges,” he said.

“For smaller companies who need the money in, it all ends up being passed down the line.”

Wyndeham chief executive Paul Utting, who is a constituent of Business Secretary Vince Cable, has written to the Lib Dem cabinet minister.

In his letter Utting states: “HMRC is delaying payment because it can. This is an effective way of forcing businesses such as ours to make involuntary loans to the Treasury… It is disingenuous in the extreme of the Government to preach the virtues of timely payment while itself squeezing its creditors until the pips squeak.”