How Small Business Commissioner Plans to Help Tackle Late Payments

If you’ve never heard of the job role small business commissioner we’ll forgive you, as it was a position only created towards the end of last year.

The role was created by the Enterprise Act 2016, with a clear view to help businesses tack late payment and “unfavourable payment practices” within the private sector.

It was announced that Paul Uppal would be the small business commissioner, overseeing small business matters and helping to resolve disputes.

The role of the small business commissioner

The government’s description of the position is that the small business commissioner will tackle the “scourge of late payment” as well as “improve the business environment for the 5.5m small and medium businesses in the UK.”

On the small business commissioner website, it claims the role will:

  • Provide general advice and information to small businesses on matters such as resolving disputes
  • Signpost small businesses to existing support and dispute resolution services through the SBC’s website
  • Consider complaints about payment issues between small business suppliers (that is businesses with fewer than 50 staff) and their larger customers making (non-binding) recommendations on how the parties should resolve their disputes.

“Integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and trusting relationships”

Paul Uppal, father-of-three from Birmingham, has had his own experiences with late payments and knows how frustrating it can be for small businesses.

It was during his 20 years’ experience as a small business owner in the real estate sector where he saw the effects of late payment culture for himself.

Mr Uppal said: “Running your own business can be a very lonely experience and my priority will be ensuring small firms feel supported as well as helping to create an overall impression that business isn’t necessarily cut throat.

“In fact, successful businesses are built on integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and trusting relationships and I want to highlight that Britain can be the best place in the world for new entrepreneurs to establish and grow their own businesses.”

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the new role which seeks to aid small businessses.

Mike Cherry, FSB national chairman, said: “small suppliers are often messed around with lengthy delays in payments, underhand changes to contracts or forced to sign unfavourable agreements.

“Fifty thousand small businesses a year are killed off by late payments.”

He added: “If successful, this could see the beginning of the end for Britain’s poor payment culture.”

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