Small Business Commissioner meets North West leaders

North West firm Hilton Smythe Finance welcomed the Government’s Small Business Commissioner for a unique opportunity to meet with small business owners in the North West and address £2.5 Billion late payment challenge.

Commercial finance

Scores of business leaders from the region met with the Government official, who took part in a panel discussion and Q&A event with other local business finance experts. 

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

At the event the Commissioner advised the audience of 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 also discussed the outlook for UK small businesses and the most up to date information about the country’s economic prospects.


The free event was sponsored by Hilton Smythe Finance, a commercial finance broker based in Bolton, and featured its CEO Gareth Smyth on the panel, with finance expert Pete Wild and Andy Nichols, Senior Loan Manager from GC Business Finance.

Paul Uppal, Small Business Commissioner, said: “Visiting the North West for this event has been really informative. What I’ve been really encouraged by is the number of small businesses that have real ambition and are quite confident in terms of the future.

“We discussed late payments, and we also touched on the issue of business growth, and business confidence is crucial to that. It’s encouraging to see the appetite for that growth, especially at a time when there is some economic uncertainty.   

Gareth Smyth, CEO of Hilton Smythe Group, said: “It was great to welcome the Small Business Commissioner to the North West to speak to a room full of dedicated local business people. 

Gareth Smyth Finance

“The North West has a rich community of owner-managed businesses and self-made entrepreneurs. We’ve already had some fantastic feedback from the audience about how valuable they found the event. All of the speakers had something interesting to say, and I’m confident that most of the business leaders will be taking action in their own companies following the discussion.”

Commercial finance

Left to right: Graham Robb, Paul Uppal, Gareth Smyth, Andy Nichols, Pete Wild.

Click here to watch the video.