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Invoices worth £2.1million recovered by Small Business Commissioner

Wednesday 5th December, 2018

Unpaid invoices worth £2.1 million to small businesses across the UK have been recovered by the Small Business Commissioner Paul Uppal as he celebrates the first anniversary of the role set up by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The Small Business Commissioner supports small firms in resolving their payment disputes with larger companies and aims to bring about a change in payment practices between businesses and across sectors. The office received more than 300 approaches from small businesses resulting in the amount recovered.

Mr Uppal has also supported BEIS’s call for evidence from businesses into tackling unfair payment practices, which concluded at the end of November.

This consultation follows on from ‘Duty to Report’ regulations brought in by government in 2017 where large companies and limited liability partnerships have to publicly report, twice a year, on their payment practices and performance, including the average time taken to pay supplier invoices.

The commissioner has the ambition of supporting more businesses in his office’s second year in operation and is keen to gain responsibility for a number of specific industries in which he has had some success, particularly the construction sector, which is one of the most affected by late payment.

Business finance website Funding Options has calculated that it took an average of 42.2 days for invoices to get paid in the construction industry in the year 2017/18, up from 41.6 days in 2016/17 and 40.3 days five years ago.

Paul Uppal, the Small Business Commissioner, said: “In the past year I have demonstrated that a proactive approach to addressing late payments to small businesses and providing advice, guidance and a free process to support the recovery of unpaid cash. Small businesses need an independent voice in these matters, which we can provide for them.”