It’s been announced that Paul Uppal has been appointed as the first Small Business Commissioner (SBC), following FSB’s calls for such an appointment and inclusion as a commitment in the 2015 Conservative Manifesto.
One of the Commissioner’s first tasks will be to establish a website to provide general advice and information to small businesses on late payment matters, such as resolving disputes. In addition, the website will also signpost small businesses to existing support and dispute resolution services. A major benefit for small businesses is that the SBC also has powers to consider complaints from small businesses relating to payment matters in connection with the supply of goods and services to larger businesses.
FSB has been closely involved in the development of the Commissioner role, and this will continue as his powers are confirmed in regulations yet to be agreed in Parliament. The intention is for the office to be fully operational by January 2018.
Bear in mind that when it becomes operational, the SBC will be able to consider complaints on issues that occurred from 6 April 2017.
Details can be found here.
FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “We’re delighted the Business Secretary has now announced the appointment of Paul Uppal to this much-needed role.
“There is far too much supply-chain bullying by big businesses. Their small suppliers are often messed around with lengthy delays in payments, underhand changes to contracts or forced to sign unfavourable agreements. We estimate that 50,000 small firms every year go out of business due to late payments."
“The hard work now begins to make a real difference and address the billions of pounds owed to small businesses by large companies. If successful, this could see the beginning of the end for Britain’s poor payment culture."
“While the office will be up and running by the end of the year, we want to make sure he has the powers and the resources to resolve these kind of disputes."
“FSB has worked closely with Greg Clark and his team on the idea of a Business Commissioner and the process and are delighted to see it delivered. We will meet the new Commissioner shortly and hope he and his office have the resources and the powers to make meaningful difference to small businesses.”