UK industry leaders back Commissioner’s call for business to pay promptly  


The Interim Small Business Commissioner, Philip King, is calling on the UK’s big businesses to speed up payments to their small business suppliers wherever they can.

The Commissioner has appealed to those in charge of supplier payroll to urgently consider accelerating invoice payments to the small business community.

The call has united all of the UK’s business groups in the wake of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus.  It is backed by the British Chambers of Commerce, Enterprise Nation, Federation of Small Businesses, Institute of Directors, IPSE, ICAEW, and The Entrepreneurs Network.

Interim Small Business Commissioner, Philip King said:  “For small businesses, cashflow is the difference between survival and failure. Coronavirus has put unprecedented pressure on the UK’s SMEs. When the cash runs out, businesses collapse. While the banks and the Budget have set out important action and relief, the reality for small firms is that short term cash flow is still the most important thing.

“We want to urge all businesses to accelerate payments to small suppliers wherever they can. If the invoice is approved and ready for a future payment run, pay it now – rather than wait – and get money into the supplier’s account.

“It may not have occurred to accounts departments to think in this way.  But this simple solution is a powerful gesture complementing the support from government and banks. It will also have a more immediate impact and may remove the need to make loan arrangements that will inevitably take effort and time spent outside the core business – and then time to come through.

“I know from experience that speeding up payments is absolutely not beyond the realms of possibility.  If payments are already progressing through payment systems, it is possible to change the date. We’d like to see large firms act on this message and pay small suppliers now.”

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “The government is doing everything we can to support business through this turbulent time, from offering £2.2 billion in grants and a refund for Statutory Sick Pay to our smallest firms. But it is vital that businesses also support one another and I would encourage them to heed this call and speed up payments wherever possible.”

About the Small Business Commissioner

The Office of the Small Business Commissioner (SBC) was established by the UK Government and Devolved Administrations in December 2017 to empower small businesses throughout the UK to resolve payment disputes with larger businesses.

  • We provide general advice and information to small businesses in connection with their supply relationships with larger employer
  • We consider complaints from small businesses relating to payment matters in connection with the supply of goods and services to larger businesses and make (non binding) decisions and recommendations
  • To date the SBC has recovered 6.7m for small businesses