By Jonathan London on 1st October 2015

UK Small Business Commissioner ‘could tackle late payment issues’

The establishment of a Small Business Commissioner in the UK could help self-employed workers and micro businesses tackle the persistent problem of late payments, an expert roundtable has concluded.

A discussion of the proposals for a Small Business Commissioner has been held by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), during which it was suggested that this move could lead to a culture change among businesses that habitually mistreat smaller companies and independent traders.

The plans are part of the Enterprise Bill currently passing through Parliament and would help to resolve disputes through general advice and information, signpost to appropriate services and consider complaints by small businesses about payment issues with larger companies that they supply.

New research from IPSE shows there is a strong need for such a facility, with 71 per cent of disputes self-employed workers had with clients being because of late payment, while it was also revealed that 37.9 per cent who were in dispute with their agency were satisfied with the way their dispute was resolved.

For this roundtable discussion, IPSE met with Mark Brennan, the Australian Small Business Commissioner, as well as representatives from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and David Morris, the government’s ambassador for the self-employed.

The meeting included a discussion on the lessons the UK could potentially learn from Australia’s experience and how the service would tackle the worst offenders of late payment.

IPSE chief executive Chris Bryce said: “A Small Business Commissioner will give businesses in the UK an independent body to help defend and settle their disputes outside the courtroom. The Commissioner should be the first point of call for all business disputes, and have the power to name and shame clients who unreasonably refuse to cooperate on payment issues.

“If set up in the right way, it will provide a cost-effective and easy-to-use resolution service.”

Jonathan London Written by Jonathan London

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