Cameron to Appoint Small Business Commissioner to End Late Payments “Culture”

Business minister Anna Soubry said role is part of the government’s aim to target the “imbalance” between small and large firms

Cameron to Appoint Small Business Commissioner to End Late Payments “Culture”

In a move to change the “culture” of how late payments disputes are resolved small business minister Anna Soubry has announced proposals for the appointment of small business commissioner.

The commissioner will act as the first point of contact for small businesses that are tackling payment problems; providing support and advice in how to resolve issues out of court, offering access to affordable negotiation services and investigating complaints over unfair business practices.

The proposal is one of the government’s ongoing measures to tackle late payments and help close the divide between small and large firms.

As part of the new enterprise bill, the government plans to create a Small Business Conciliation Service and, in February this year, former business minister Matthew Hancock announced improvements to the Prompt Payment Code to make 30 day payment terms standard policy.

Recent reports have revealed that small and medium enterprises are owed an estimated £26bn in late payments, costing small enterprises approximately £10.8m a year, and a Federation of Small Business (FSB) survey reported that 51% of its members had been paid late last year.

Furthermore an Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA) study found that small businesses’ late payment problems have escalated in the last year, with wait times increasing to an average of 72 days.

Small business minister Anna Soubry said:

“The government is backing small businesses to grow and create more jobs and opportunity.

“The small business commissioner will tackle the imbalance of bargaining power between small suppliers and large customers, and encourage them to get round the table and sort out disputes at a fraction of the cost of going to court.”

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