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Forum of Private Business

Forum of Private Business (and the general public) call for the Government to give the new Small Business Commissioner teeth

21 August 2015 10:30


As the consultation period for the recently announced Small Business Commissioner role closes, the Forum of Private Business highlights that 76% of the adult population believe the Government should penalise big businesses who act unfairly towards small firms, and calls on the Government to give the Commissioner the teeth to deliver real change.

• Late payment is an issue for 51% of small firms with 19% having to agree to long payment terms
• 22% of small employers are bullied by larger firms and just 5% would be prepared to talk in confidence
• 74% of adults in the UK feel big businesses have no concern for the UKs small business owners and 76% felt that the government should penalise big businesses who act unfairly towards small firms
• The average small business awaits payments of around £32,000 – in comparison cash reserves are around £40,000
• 82% of Forum members wanted a strengthening of the Prompt Payment Code to be a priority for this government, 46% wanted the government to prioritise third party adjudication on contractual disputes.

Late payment is an issue for 51% of small firms and this has increased since the recession despite the need for paying late reducing. Not only is there a monetary implication to this, £31,901 per business according the latest BACS survey, but it also impacts trust, inhibits supply chain innovation and ultimately costs UK jobs.

Having a professional third party such as the Forum, or the Institute of Credit Management deal with contractual disputes can be effective as the business involved is able to remain anonymous. In a large number of cases, potential entrants to the Forum’s Hall of Shame have claimed the issue was a mistake and have taken remedial action. Others have been happy to deal with the associated bad press and damage to their reputation.

“Good relationships with clients is absolutely essential to a small business and half of those who responded to the Forum survey stated that they would not take action against a ‘big business’ client in the recovery of an overdue debt” explained Ian Cass, Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business, and a small business owner himself.“

“There was a mood before the election that something needed to be done about the behaviour of large companies with 76% of adults, according to a Comres poll, wanting the Government to penalise big businesses who act unfairly towards small businesses

Although creating another mechanism for small firms is helpful, there is plenty that the government could do to support business by preventing poor payers from gaining public contracts or by supporting a kite mark scheme similar to the one suggested by Arla for the dairy industry.”

“The lack of government sanction on the dispute resolution service is extremely disappointing and we feel that forcing large companies to report their average payment times is well overdue. We hope that when the Government has considered the input to the consultation they will ensure the Commissioner has the teeth to force through real change”.


Notes to editors
Representing thousands of small businesses across the UK – including retail, service providers and manufacturing companies – the Forum is recognised by the Government as one of the six main business support and lobby groups. It uses this position to influence decision-makers in the UK and Brussels on the issues that matter to small businesses.

Broadcast media – the Forum has ISDN capability and can provide comment, in quality audio, at short notice. The Forum can also provide journalists with localised and sector-specific case studies.

Twitter account -

Forum blog -

About the Forum of Private Business:

The Forum of Private Business is a proactive business support organisation focused on the growth and profitability of small businesses.

Media contact for this press release

Thomas Parry
Research Manager
Tel: 01565 626015
Mobile: 07885 888085

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Press Contacts

Georgina Hodge

Campaign Communications Executive

Tel: 01565 626036


About Forum of Private Business

The #Forum of #Private #Business - providing #protection & #support to SME's businesses. For our #members, not for #profit

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