Paul Uppal appointed Small Business Commissioner
The long-awaited appointment of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) has finally been announced, in the shape of former Tory MP Paul Uppal.
An ex-small business owner, Mr Uppal will tackle unfair payment practices and support tiny traders in dispute with larger ones.
With help from an independent office, a dedicated website and existing dispute resolution services, the former Conservative MP will help “drive a culture change in payment practices.”
The father-of-three, who has 20 years’ small business experience in the residential housing sector, immediately struck a sympathetic tone with people who have boldly ‘gone it alone.’
“Running your own business can be a very lonely experience and my priority will be ensuring small firms feel supported”, said Mr Uppal, the ex-Tory MP for Wolverhampton South West.
He added that, on top of his work in a role many have dubbed the ‘late payment tsar,’ he also wants to help create the “impression that business isn’t necessarily cut throat.”
“In fact, successful businesses are built on integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and trusting relationships,” he said.
“I want to highlight that Britain can be the best place in the world for new entrepreneurs to establish and grow their own businesses.”
However, Mr Uppal sounded familiar with the potentially harsh realities of business too, by pointing out that in his time as an entrepreneur, he saw “sound” businesses struggle to survive when late payment repeatedly hit.
The government confirmed that the Birmingham-born politician's “extensive experience” (Uppal says he was once his own accountant, secretary and lawyer) will help him being the ‘SBC,’ but it also said his office would not be operational until the end of the year -- at the earliest.