03 Jan 2018
A small business commissioner is to ensure fair-payment practices in Britain.
One in five firms are estimated to have experienced cash-flow problems due to a late-payments culture.
The amount owed to the country's 5.7million small enterprises is said to be falling, but the current total is still a massive £14billion.
The UK Government says it is taking a number of measures to tackle the late-payment culture. For example, regulations came into force last April requiring large businesses to publicly report the average time they take to pay their suppliers.
Former Tory MP Paul Uppal has now been appointed to the small business commissioner post by the UK Government.
He will be handling complaints from small businesses about unfair payment practices.
The commissioner's website will also provide guidance on payment issues, including how to take action if money is overdue.
Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "The UK is gripped by a poor-payments crisis - over 30% of payments to small businesses are late and the average value of each payment is £6,142.
"This not only impacts on the small business and the owner, it is damaging the wider economy.
"The small business commissioner is crucial to turning the tide on this late-payments culture.
"FSB will be encouraging small businesses affected to use the service, and we hope then to see clear actions taken to tackle the worst examples of supply-chain bullying. Success will be a UK economic culture where a business that does a job promptly is paid promptly."
Margot James, UK Small Business Minister, said: "This Government’s industrial strategy is building a Britain in which small business can continue to thrive.
"Over the last five years, the amount owed to smaller businesses has more than halved from £30billion to £14billion.
"The small business commissioner service will empower small businesses to take action if they are paid late, potentially delivering a £2.5 billion annual boost to the economy."
Mr Uppal said he had run his own small business for over 20 years and is well aware that integrity and trust are key to running and building a successful business.
"My mission is to help all small businesses nurture positive and lasting relationships with their customers that work in the best interests of both," he added.