The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) legal helpline has seen a marked increase in demand in recent weeks as member companies grapple with legal and contractual issues.

The BWF said current pressures on companies were “immense”, with uncertainty concerning workload and cash flow difficulties.

“Trying to make a profit is difficult enough without having to worry about the potential problems of contract queries which delay payment of monies due,” the BWF said.

Topics flagged up by members calling the helpline include inadequate specifications and instructions, conflicting contract terms, changes to quotations, orders or contracts and payment disputes, including clients using an increasing range of excuses to delay or not to pay. A rise in bad debts was also an issue.

The BWF legal helpline gives members access to qualified lawyers for advice.