New Small Business Commissioner appointed to lead crackdown on late payments to small businesses

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British Parliament

The government today announced the appointment of Liz Barclay as Small Business Commissioner to lead the nation’s effort to crack down on overdue bills – which shut down thousands of small businesses every year.

Liz Barclay will be the first female commissioner for small businesses, a post created in 2016 to help small businesses secure the payments owed to them and to galvanize UK businesses behind a new culture of prompt payment.

More than £ 23.4 billion is owed in unpaid invoices to UK businesses. Some companies wait several months before paying their suppliers, which seriously affects the bottom line of many small businesses.

Small businesses account for two thirds of UK private sector jobs and more than half of business turnover. Late payments hurt their income, which can hamper investment or job creation and, in the worst case, lead to job losses and business closures.

Measures to help businesses and end this damaging practice will remain a key priority as the government seeks to support small businesses and build back better after the pandemic.

Barclay said: “We need a real culture change around corporate payments in UK to take the pressure off our phenomenal entrepreneurs. People who have already delivered goods and services need to be able to focus on their next customer and their next order rather than chasing late payments and worrying about their cash flow. I know from personal experience how much it can damage mental and emotional health. By working with businesses and making sure their concerns are heard, I hope to be able to deliver a payments plan that maintains cash flow and works for everyone.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Having run small businesses for most of my working life, I know how toxic delayed invoices can be, causing unnecessary uncertainty as business owners look for payments that should have been made weeks or even months ago.

“I thank Phillip King for his work on this issue as Interim Small Business Commissioner and welcome Liz Barclay to this extremely important role, leading the positive change we need to see and championing our working small businesses. hard.”

Last year, the government held consultations on the commissioner’s new powers, including the power to order payments, impose fines and initiate investigations based on information from third parties. Responses to the consultation and other proposals will be published in due course.

In January of this year, the government also announced reforms to the Quick Pay Code, a voluntary program whereby companies commit to paying their partners on time, thereby fostering a culture change and encouraging companies to change their practices. .

The additional support for small businesses announced in the budget earlier this month includes £ 5bn for new restart grants – a one-time cash grant of up to £ 18,000 for hospitality businesses, accommodation, recreation, personal care and gym in England; and a new UK-wide payback loan program to provide loans between £ 25,001 and £ 10million, and asset and bill financing between £ 1,000 and £ 10million , to help businesses of all sizes get through the next stage of turnaround.

Barclay will also be part of the new Help to Grow program to give 130,000 businesses across the UK a digital and manageable boost.

Barclay’s term as Commissioner for Small Business will begin on June 23 when she replaces current Acting Commissioner Philip King.

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