Have your say: Small Business Commissioner seeks views on late payment
Would you like to have your say on businesses’ payment practices and changing the culture of late payments in the UK? If so, now is your chance.
With late payment debt as high as £200,000 for one in five SMEs and 69% of small businesses failing to receive payment from their customers within the agreed terms, it’s clear that late payment remains a serious issue, particularly for small businesses.
In fact, according to the Small Business Commissioner (SBC), if small businesses were paid on time, this could boost the economy by an estimated £2.5 billion annually.
But help could be on the way.
The SBC has launched a survey to seek views on payment practices to help influence wider thinking when it comes to payment issues.
The short survey includes questions such as:
- How would you like to see big firms improve their payment practices?
- Do your customers regard payments as a purely commercial/business/financial matter?
- Do you think your customers behave ethically when it comes to paying fairly?
The open-ended nature of these questions allows respondents to comment more widely, so the SBC can get a clearer picture on current payment issues.
The survey opened on 20th October 2021 and will close on 15th December 2021. You can complete the survey online here.
It is unclear how these responses will shape any future initiatives, but we welcome any steps towards creating a fairer late payment culture.
What is the Small Business Commissioner?
The SBC is an independent public body set up by Government under the Enterprise Act 2016 to tackle late payment and unfavourable payment practices.
Launched in 2017, the SBC aims to empower small businesses in resolving disputes around late and unfair payment issues. The Commissioner also provides advice on how to take action if a payment is overdue.
Small businesses who are affected by late or unfair payment practices are urged to use the SBC’s complaint investigation service.
However, the effectiveness of the SBC has been questioned in the past, with many calling the office “toothless”.
A consultation on increasing the scope and powers of the Small Business Commissioner closed on 24th December 2020.
Suggested new powers include legally binding payment orders, launching investigations and levying fines.
However, the government is yet to publish consultation responses on this.
We’d be interested to hear your thoughts too. What would you like to see done about late payment? Are there measures that would protect your business? Or will government attempts to curb the problem fail? Please share your views in the comments below.