National newspaper is shamed online by Jack Monroe and other freelance writers who claim they wait months to be paid – while the publication lambasts a culture of late payment

National newspaper is shamed online by Jack Monroe and other freelance writers who claim they wait months to be paid – while the publication lambasts a culture of late payment

By Harry Mottram: The journalist Jack Monroe (pictured) has touched a raw nerve with scores of freelance writers and photographers after she tweeted in a claim about not be being paid on time by the Daily Telegraph for an article she had written.

In a post this week under a handle @BootstrapCook she wrote: “It appears I’m not the only freelance writer waiting literal years to be paid by the @Telegraph. If they also owe you money, drop the month and year of the article you wrote for them and let’s see if a public collective callout achieves more than dozens of polite invoices did.”

The tweet was quickly responded to self-employed writers and photographers who claimed to have had the same experience with some waiting for payment after years of sending reminders – or worse not being paid at all. James Oswald wrote in reply: “Good luck with that. I wrote them 1200 words that got used in a double page weekend spread a few years back. Never saw a penny.”

The Government's website spells out the details of the late payment legislation

While professor Neil Martin said he was still waiting to be paid for a 2018 invoice and photographer Phil Robinson said he was waiting for a cheque for a January 2022 invoice. That’s obviously over the expected industry standard of 30 days from the day of invoice.

Why might you ask, does a newspaper who credits itself with being business-friendly and a champion of free enterprise and a supporter of the Conservatives would they not stick to the credit terms of their suppliers? The answer according to Brendan Gallagher who is waiting to be paid for covering the 2008 Olympics is ‘because they could.’

ICSM has no way of knowing if the claims made in the twitter feed are genuine or can be verified as being accurate but the newspaper regularly runs stories supporting prompt payment to its credit.

Jack Monroe is also a campaigner for social justice and champions the low paid and those living in poverty and often appears on TV and radio talk shows in that capacity so it seems odd that of all people the accounts department at the Daily Telegraph would be so slow in paying her. The author of Cooking on a Bootstrap and presenter of BBCTV’s Daily Kitchen Live has a high media profile only enhanced when she took the right-wing columnist Katie Hopkins to court over a libellous comment, winning substantial damages.

Ironically The Daily Telegraph has published articles recently by Dafydd Llewellyn, managing director of UK small and medium business at Concur on ‘It’s Time to Confront Britain’s late-payment Culture’ in 2017, and in 2004 Richard Tyler’s piece on ‘how the UK late payment culture is till thriving.’ And the newspaper has also claimed to campaign in favour of the Prompt Payment Code shaming firms that pay late by naming them.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM whose business group is dedicated to fighting late payment said there is often a disconnect between those who commission work and those who run the accounts section and it was always a good policy of having a good relationship with whoever signs off payments.

He said: “There are some basic rules to follow – firstly get something in writing if you are commissioned – ideally a purchase order signed by the editor or staffer. On your invoice and statement have your credit terms such as 30 days together with a reference to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 which allows for 8% interest a year to be added to the overdue money.

“ICSM has hundreds of freelancers as members, and we offer free legal letters and also a micro debt service plus a debt collection service. Chasing up late payment through the courts can be time consuming and stressful so joining ICSM and using our knowledge saves time and heart ache. Every year we settle hundreds of over-due accounts for members from less than a £100 to tens of thousands.”

He said that due to the increase in late payments to freelance writers, illustrators and photographers from their clients ICSM is offering free membership for 2022.

ICSM has approached The Daily Telegraph for a comment.

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ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel - while at the moment there's a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach - ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website or email Ian at on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

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