Small Business Commissioner will address late payments

The Government’s newly appointed Small Business Commissioner will tackle late payments amongst SMEs and restore balance between the country’s largest and smallest organisations.


Anna Soubry, Business Minister, described the new service’s ambitions by highlighting the growing issue of late payments being experienced by Britain’s SMEs.


She claimed that small businesses are chasing a staggering £26 billion in late payments between them; something which could obviously prove detrimental to their performance and growth.


The new Small Business Commissioner will act as the first response in such situations with SMEs urged to contact them for advice in chasing payments.


Addressing unfair practice


As well as tackling the problems surrounding late payments, the Small Business Commissioner also aims to act as a conciliation service in addressing supply chain bullying and other incidences of unfair practice directed towards small businesses.


According to reports, many smaller suppliers are forced to pay additional fees to retain their contracts within the supply chain while other discrepancies can exist between small and large firms.


The Small Business Commissioner will lead investigations into these claims and regularly report on their findings, potentially naming and shaming the main offenders.


Supported by the FSB


In reaction to the Government’s announcement, the Federation of Small Business (FSB) expressed their support by saying they were “encouraged” to see action being taken.


They added that it is “important to ensure that the new Commissioner has the confidence of the entire business community” and has the knowledge and focus needed to tackle key issues.


Business Minister Soubry also commented on the new position and said she hoped it will generate a “long-lasting culture change” that benefits business of all sizes and levels the playing field.


She explained that late payments can limit the growth and productivity of SMEs and even “put an otherwise successful business at risk”.


This sort of financial pressure can force a company into insolvency or prompt restructuring or business recovery measures designed to overcome money issues.


By appointing the new Commissioner, the Government hopes to help businesses avoid this action unless it is absolutely necessary and ensure that SMEs and large customers “get round the table” and engage in fair business dealings that are free from prejudice and exploitation.


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