BBC journalist Liz Barclay has been appointed small business commissioner
UPDATED: Campaign journalist and BBC broadcaster Liz Barclay has been appointed as the new Small Business Commissioner to take over on 23 June.
Liz Barclay has a long history of advocating social justice when it comes to consumer rights and personal finances. She presented Radio 4’s You and Yours consumer protection program.
The Small Business Officer position was established in 2016 to help small businesses get paid on time.
Barclay will take over as Interim Commissioner Philip King as soon as the office is expected to receive greater powers.
Last year, the government consulted new powers for the commissioner, including the power to order payments, impose fines and start open investigations based on information from third parties. The replies to the consultation and further proposals have yet to be made public.
Small businesses are currently chasing more than £ 50 billion in late payments, according to digital banking platform Tide. The average UK SMB keeps track of five outstanding invoices at a time, consuming a staggering 1.5 hours per day and owing an average of £ 8,500.
According to the government, UK companies owe £ 23.4 billion in outstanding bills.
In August 2019, a quarter of SMEs told accounting firm ICAEW that late payments had become a bigger problem than a year ago.
The Association of Small Businesses estimates that 50,000 SMEs will be put out of business due to late payments.
Barclay said: “We need a real culture change in terms of corporate payments in the UK to take the strain off our phenomenal entrepreneurs. People who have already delivered goods and services need to be able to focus their attention on their next customer and order instead of tracking late payments and worrying about their cash flow. I know from personal experience how damaging this can be to mental and emotional health. “
Small Business Commissioner has reclaimed £ 3.1m in the past 6 months