Small Business Commissioner has helped just 8 SMEs in late payment disputes with customers

24 September 2018

  • £332,000 recovered for small businesses since launch in December 2017
  • Small businesses still reluctant to report larger clients

The Government’s ‘Small Business Commissioner’ has helped just eight small businesses with complaints about late payments from customers*, says Funding Options, the online business finance supermarket.

The Small Business Commissioner (SBC) has received 208 enquiries since its launch in December 2017. However, just eight of these complaints have been specifically related to late payments and were investigated by the SBC**, helping to recoup £332,000 in late payments from customers.

The Small Business Commissioner was set up by the Government last year specifically to help small businesses resolve payment disputes with larger companies.

Funding Options explains that the low number of enquiries to the SBC could be partly down to small businesses being reluctant to report larger businesses.

Small businesses are often fearful of losing their larger clients’ custom if they take an “aggressive” approach to dealing with late payments. Instead, they are choosing to accept late payment rather than potentially risk losing business altogether.

Funding Options says that late payment is now virtually endemic across a number of sectors. Funding Options’ research has showed that the UK’s construction businesses are now having to wait 42 days for their invoices to be paid up from 40 days last year, following the collapse of Carillion. The UK’s food producers are being forced to wait 45 days.

That there are, however, other options for small businesses to improve their cashflow. Business finance providers like Funding Options are able to quickly organise funding packages that can help businesses avoid having to cancel investments in growth to cover short-term cashflow crunches.

Conrad Ford, Founder of Funding Options (, says:

“It has been a slow start for the Small Business Commissioner and SMEs will want to see the pace picked up.”

“It’s important small businesses are able to get help they need to collect payment in good time.”

“To small businesses, income from one client can often be pivotal so they may not want to risk losing a client altogether by reporting them to a regulator or an authority.”

“However, there are other options for these businesses. Companies such as ourselves can arrange funding quickly and efficiently regardless of how dire a situation might be.”

*Data released to Funding Options by the Small Business Commissioner

**These 8 complaints have been specifically regarding late payments