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Late payment proposals 27/07/2015 The Government has set out plans for a Small Business Commissioner to help tackle payment disputes and other unfair practices in the UK

Late payment proposals

The Government has set out plans for a Small Business Commissioner to help tackle payment disputes and other unfair practices in the UK. Comments are sought by 21st August.

Late payment is a real problem for small businesses. According to a report earlier this month by payment process service provider Bacs, small and medium businesses are owed a total of £26.8 billion in overdue late payments and that £10.8 billion is spent per year in attempts to recover overdue payments.

The Small Business Commissioner will attempt to resolve the issue by:

  • being a point of first contact for small businesses and providing advice and support on how to avoid disputes with larger companies and on how to resolve them
  • offering access to mediation services to sort out issues quickly and affordably, at a fraction of the cost of going to court
  • investigating complaints over unfair business practices and regularly reporting its findings

It is the latest measure brought in to tackle late payment. It follows The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015, which introduced a reporting requirement for the UK’s largest companies to report on their payment policies and practices.

The Small Business Commissioner will be able to use this data to name and shame those behaving badly and celebrate those leading the way by paying promptly.

See the Discussion Paper here.

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