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Small business commissioner must now be priority

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As the Enterprise Bill receives Royal Assent, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the Government to prioritise the appointment of the Small Business Commissioner which is due to be confirmed in the summer. The body will be crucial in helping to tackle late payment practices.

Gordon Millward, FSB regional chairman, said: “The new Small Business Commissioner must have the confidence and respect of the entire business community and the strength to take on large businesses where necessary. The Government should now lay out a timetable so that businesses are clear on when the Commissioner will be in post.

“Now that the Enterprise Bill has been given assent, we look forward to working with Government on the remit, targets and the candidate requirements for the Commissioner role. Formalising the Commissioner’s relationship with the Prompt Payment Code must also be clarified and the office must have the powers to publicly name and shame those companies that don’t comply.

“In order to do this effectively, the Government should ensure that the Commissioner has sufficient resources to tackle the £26.8 billion owed to small businesses across the UK. We are also keen to see progress on the new Duty to Report for large businesses, the implementation of which has already been delayed from April to October this year.

“This Commissioner has the potential to make a real impact on addressing bad practice across the UK economy’s payment culture. However, the role must have a clear focus on tackling supply chain bullying, and sufficient powers to intervene and resolve late-payment disputes in a timely and effective way.”

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