Molson Coors has come under fire from small businesses after trebling the period it waits before paying suppliers.

The Carling brewer has extended its supplier payment terms to more than three months, from a previous period of 30 days.

It said the move would free up resources for investment and said the new terms were “more consistent with the industry standard”. But the Forum of Private Business criticised the move, which it said would pile pressure on cash-strapped smaller businesses.

“We are very disappointed that yet another big business has seen fit to profit at the expense of its struggling small suppliers,” said a spokesman for the FPB.

“Maintaining a healthy cash flow is hugely important to small businesses, especially in the current economic climate, and many SMEs simply can’t afford to wait months and months to be paid for work they have carried out.”

He added: “We have written to Molson Coors urging them to reverse the extension to their terms and sign up to the Prompt Payment Code.”

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