Small Business Commissioner visits Wales to meet with business groups and call for action to stop poor payment practices
The UK’s Small Business Commissioner is attending a jointly hosted event by ACCA, Cardiff Business School, FSB, Chambers Wales, and CBI, to discuss the payment hurdles facing small businesses in Wales.
The latest data from FSB suggests slow and unfair payment practices are threatening the future of almost half a million UK small businesses. A study commissioned by Good Business Pays and carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), estimates that if small businesses’ invoices were paid on the day they were submitted, their revenues would increase by £40bn to £60bn per year. This could provide a significant income boost for small businesses at a time when their operating costs are rising by the week.
Liz Barclay, Small Business Commissioner, said: “Small businesses need to know when they will be paid to give them the confidence to invest in training, recruitment, growth. They need to be paid quickly so that they can manage their cashflow without having to borrow to fill any gaps. Borrowing is costly and increasingly difficult. If bigger business customers want their smaller suppliers to survive, they need to work together and pay fast and fair.”
“As Wales and UK businesses work to recover from the pandemic, and as they face higher costs for the next period, prompt payment remains a key challenge for many Welsh small businesses.”
“I know the Minister for the Economy, and the whole of the Welsh Government takes this matter very seriously and I look forward to continuing work with them to support small businesses that are the lifeblood of the Welsh economy.”
Speaking via recorded video to the event, Vaughan Gething MS, the Welsh Government Minister for the Economy, said: “I am pleased the UK Small Business Commissioner is running this event today on Wales’s small businesses and prompt payment. SME’s account for more than 99% of the business population in Wales and Welsh Government policy and support continues to focus on their development.”
“In the context of the cost-of-living crisis, it is more important than ever that SME’s receive prompt payment for their goods and services, to free up cash flow and keep them trading successfully.”
“That is why I am pleased the Welsh Government alongside the UK Government and other devolved nations, was able to agree one of the first common framework agreements after EU-exit concerning late payments at the end of last year.”
“Back in 2017, we led the way in encouraging prompt payment when the Welsh Government published the Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains. The Code requires signatories to pay suppliers within 30 days of receiving an invoice. I am pleased that over 400 businesses in Wales have now made this commitment.”
“I’d like to thank all of you for the continued work you are undertaking in this space and I hope you enjoy today’s event creating a better future for SMEs in Wales, as part of our commitment for a fairer, greener and more prosperous Wales.”
Ian Price, CBI Wales Director, said: “Prompt payment practices strengthen the resilience of businesses throughout the supply chain at an especially challenging time for the economy. Faster payment to small businesses also aids better cashflow and business planning.”
Paul Slevin, President of Chambers Wales South East, South West and Mid said, “Small businesses are facing a number of operational challenges as they look to build resilience in a disrupted market. The support of the Commissioner in reducing payment issues is welcome to help ease financial burdens on companies”.
Lloyd Powell, Head of ACCA Cymru/Wales said: “We are very pleased that the Commissioner can join us to discuss a range of issues facing small businesses here in Wales. The focus on tackling late payments is most welcome, given the huge impact that this can have on the financial health of small firms”.
Contact: Manveer Mann on 0121 695 7761
Notes to Editors
The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (OSBC) was set up by government in 2017 to try to reduce business-to-business poor payment practices.
We help small business owners throughout the UK deal with the impact of poor payment practices, including overdue invoices and delays to payments, the imposition of unreasonably long contract terms and sudden changes to payment arrangements resulting from wider commercial challenges.
• The OSBC team of expert caseworkers can provide:
• General advice and information about resolving payment disputes
• A signposting service to further support, and to dispute resolution services through the OSBC’ own website
• A complaints investigation service focused on incidences of poor payment practice between small businesses (those with 50 or fewer staff) and their larger business customer (those with more than 50 staff).
• The OSBC has the power to make recommendations relating to these complaints and help with dispute resolution. The OSBC’s services are completely free to use, and investigations will be treated anonymously if requested.