Paul Uppal has stepped down from his role as Small Business Commissioner. Fiona Dickie, the Deputy Pubs Code Adjudicator, will provide oversight in the Small Business Commissioner role until early November, pending the appointment of an Interim Commissioner.

An open recruitment campaign to appoint a new Small Business Commissioner will get underway immediately.

The role of Small Business Commissioner was established under the Enterprise Act 2016 as part of a package of measures to tackle the late and unfair payment practices.

The Commissioner has responsibility for advising, signposting and dealing with complaints from small businesses (up to 50 employees) concerning late or unfair payment practices regarding their larger business customers (over 50 employees) across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Responding to the announcement that Paul Uppal has stepped down as Small Business Commissioner, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry, said “We’ve made some genuine progress on the late payments front since the Small Business Commissioner first took office back in 2017. We’ve welcomed his efforts to name and shame larger companies, including Holland and Barrett, Bupa and Zurich, for poor payment practices. He also led efforts to reform the toothless Prompt Payment Code.”

“This is a disappointing development, one that will put the brakes on our efforts to date.”

“The appointment process needs to be efficient and thorough. We lose 50,000 business a year to late payment at a cost of at least £2.5 billion to the economy. We can’t delay further action to tackle this crisis, especially in such an uncertain climate.”