Late payment tsar has his work cut out – poll

The newly appointed Small Business Commissioner has his work cut out, a poll suggests, as only 100,00 of the UK’s five million tiny traders think late payment is taken “seriously.”

Speaking to cloud accountancy firm FreeAgent, just two per cent of micro or sole person businesses said the government was treating not being paid on time as a serious issue.

Having polled 700 such traders, the firm said this equates to a meagre 100,000 of the country’s five million owner-managed firms being on-board with the state’s approach.

Allowing them to get compensation from late payers is what the vast majority of the tiny traders say is the answer, but others (a significant 29%), think it’s ‘naming and shaming.’

Polled by FreeAgent before Paul Uppal’s appointment as the commissioner, roughly half the business also said they think penalties and a code of conduct could help. FreeAgent reflected:

“It’s good news that the government has finally appointed a Small Business Commissioner, with the specific remit of dealing with the late payment problem faced by micro-businesses

“However, the reality is likely to be that Mr Uppal will actually have limited power to punish companies who routinely pay late, aside from just naming and shaming them.”

Perhaps even more of a challenge for the ‘late payment tsar’ is his profile. Asked in January for their take on the then-incoming commissioner, almost six in ten did not know what it was.

Oct 12, 2017