Small Business Commissioner to address £2.5 billion late payment challenge

The Government’s Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal is to visit the North West in May to meet North West business leaders to address £2.5 billion late payment challenge for small firms.

Bolton based business Hilton Smythe Finance is inviting business leaders in the region to meet the Government official, who will be taking part in a panel discussion and Q&A event with other local business experts.

During the event, which will take place at the Mariott Worsley Park on 8 May, the Commissioner, Paul Uppal, will highlight how he is addressing the issue of late payment, which collectively costs smaller enterprises £2.5 billion a year.

Paul Uppal Small Business Commissioner

Paul Uppal, Small Business Commissioner.

The office of the Small Business Commissioner

Launched in December 2017 to ensure fair payment practices for Britain's 5.7 million small businesses, support them in resolving their payment disputes with larger companies and bring about a change in payment practices between businesses and across sectors.

It was created in response to the poor payments crisis facing UK small business and coincided with regulations that came into force requiring large businesses to report the average time they take to pay their suppliers.

According to research undertaken by Small Business Commissioner in partnership with Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, 39 per cent of North West of England small business are taking, on average, 39 days to be paid to the region’s small firms – two days longer than the national average of 37 days, and well above the Small Business Commissioner’s recommended exemplar of 30 days.

About the event

At the event the Commissioner will advise North West small businesses on how he is tackling late payment practices to ensure supply chain resilience through timely payments, the measures he has introduced and the free services his office delivers to supports small firms in dispute over outstanding invoices.

Mr Uppal will also discuss the outlook for UK small businesses and the most up to date information about the country’s economic prospects.

The FREE event, which is sponsored by Hilton Smythe Finance, has been organised with the support of Pete Wild and GC Business Finance. 

Paul Uppal, Small Business Commissioner, said: “The North West is home to a vibrant cluster of small businesses and I am looking forward to hearing their inspiring stories and the challenges they are facing to drive forward their enterprises. Through my role I aim to give small businesses the support they deserve, in particular to ensure fair payment practices, which are essential in helping them to thrive.”

Gareth Smyth, CEO of Hilton Smythe Group, said: “As a firm which supports the buying and selling of small businesses, we are very interested to hear what the Small Business Commissioner has to say, and how the research he has complied can help entrepreneurs in the region. 

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of any community, and the North West has a rich community of owner-managed businesses and self-made entrepreneurs. I feel that there are many leaders, both experienced and relatively new, who will benefit greatly from hearing what he has to say.” 

Andy Nichols, Senior Loan Manager from GC Business Finance, said: “I am delighted to see the rights of small business owners becoming more of a focus for the UK Government, and the information the Commissioner has to share about the country’s economic prospects. It is an uncertain time for small businesses, and I’m sure the audience will have plenty of challenging questions for him.”

A limited number of FREE tickets are available for the event at the Marriott Worsley Park, Manchester, which takes place between 12.30pm and 2.00pm on the 8th of May.

Photo: Left to right, Pete Wild, Gareth Smyth & Andy Nichols.