Amid rising concern and outcry in the U.K. over late supplier payments, officials have made efforts to curb the problem, including through the creation of the small business commissioner.
The new post, facilitated under the Enterprise Act, was announced last September. But it wasn’t until this month that the commissioner could take action.
Reports on Friday (May 6) said the legislation received royal assent on Thursday and has now become law. Next comes the challenge of actually filling the position.
“Now that the Enterprise Bill has been given royal assent, we look forward to working with government on the remit, targets and the candidate requirements for the commissioner role,” stated Federation of Small Businesses Chairman Mike Cherry.
“There must also be clarity around formalizing the commissioner’s relationship with the Prompt Payment Code and the powers the office has to publicly name and shame those companies that don’t comply,” Cherry added.
The U.K. launched the Prompt Payment Code as a standard backed by the government, which, though unenforceable, is a promise among corporations to pay their suppliers on time.
Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) Chief Executive Chris Bryce applauded the new rules, noting that independent workers are among some of the most negatively impacted from late payments.
“IPSE research shows almost three quarters of disputes between freelancers and clients stem from late payments,” he said, according to U.K. publication Recruiter.
According to Cherry, small suppliers across the U.K. are owed more than $38.7 billion in overdue payments from their corporate buyers.