Small Business Commissioner to tackle problem of delayed payments

2 mins

Posted on 16 Jan 2020

The Queen’s Speech contained an important development for SMEs and the self-employed owed money by larger companies for unpaid invoices. 

The UK government announced that the Small Business Commissioner’s powers will be strengthened during 2020 to tackle increasing debt amongst the self-employed and SMEs who supply services to larger companies. It said:

We will clamp down on late payment more broadly and strengthen the powers of the Small Business Commissioner to support small businesses that are exploited by their larger partners.”

This is good news for smaller suppliers who are tired of waiting for their invoices to be paid by their bigger customers. Accountancy Age announced this week that it is estimated that there remains over £50billion of unpaid invoices amongst UK SMEs. On average, each supplier has 6 to 7 unpaid invoices, averaging at around £8,500 each. According to the government’s own website, the average value of each debt in the UK is £6,142. 

London based suppliers suffer the most, according to Accountancy Age.

The level of debt still outstanding suggests that attempts to date to stem this issue have not been hugely successful. It will be interesting to see over 2020 how the Small Business Commissioner’s role will develop to tackle this problem.  

How we can help?

If you are self-employed or an SME and you are unable to recover existing debts from customers, it is important that when pursuing formal legal action you follow the pre-action protocol contained in the Civil Procedure Rules. Failure to do so may lead to courts making cost penalties against you.

At Doyle Clayton, we have lawyers with expertise in pursuing these types of debts in both the Small Claims Court and the County Court. 

The articles published on this website, current at the date of publication, are for reference purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your own circumstances should always be sought separately before taking any action.

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