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Small Business Commissioner launches late payment crackdown

17 September 2018

The Government’s Small Business Commissioner will visit Barclays Bank in Birmingham today as part of a crackdown on late payment to small firms.

The Commissioner, Paul Uppal, will take part in a Q&A event with small businesses at their Snow Hill offices in the centre of Birmingham to highlight how he is addressing the issue of late payment, which collectively costs smaller enterprises £2.5billion a year.

The office of the Small Business Commissioner was launched in December 2017 to ensure fair payment practices for Britain's 5.7 million small businesses, support them in resolving their payment disputes with larger companies and bring about culture change.

It was created in response to the poor payments crisis facing UK small business and coincided with regulations that came into force requiring large businesses to report the average time they take to pay their suppliers.

According to figures from Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), a third of payments to small businesses are late with the average value of each payment at £6,142.  This has led to 20 percent of small businesses running into cash flow problems due to late payments.

At the event the Commissioner will advise West Midlands small businesses on how he is changing practice to ensure supply chain resilience through timely payments, measures he has introduced and how his office supports small firms in dispute over outstanding invoices.

Mr Uppal will also discuss the outlook for UK small businesses and the most up to date information about the country’s economic prospects.

Paul Uppal (pictured), Small Business Commissioner, said: “The West Midlands region is home to a vibrant cluster of small businesses and I am looking forward to hearing their inspiring stories and the challenges they are facing to drive forward their enterprises. 

“Through my role I aim to give small businesses they support they deserve, in particular to ensure fair payment practices, which are essential in helping them to thrive. My role is to support smaller enterprises, which are essential to the UK economy.

“Smaller businesses, those that have a turnover less than £6.5m and fewer than 50 employees, are the lifeblood of the UK economy.  However, late payments put their health at serious risk and in turn the livelihoods of entrepreneurs and their employees.  I hope my role as the commissioner will go some way to addressing the late payment crisis.

“Small businesses account for more than 99 percent of all private sector companies, yet they are the ones at most risk from the poor practices of large organisations.  Our mission is for small businesses to get paid for the quality products and services they provide.”

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