MPs to investigate unfair treatment of small businesses by big firms paying late

With the collapse of Carillion and its payment practices towards smaller suppliers still making headlines, MPs have announced they will examine whether enough is being done to protect firms from unfair treatment by large companies.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee inquiry will examine whether measures such as the establishment of the Small Business Commissioner will help those small businesses affected by late payments from suppliers.

The failure of Carillion highlighted the problems many small suppliers have to deal with when it comes to payment terms. Subcontractors to the construction group had to wait 120 days to get their money.

Ministers have attempted to tackle the late payment issue for many years and after much lobbying by business groups, former MP Paul Uppal was appointed as the first Small Business Commissioner.

Uppal has no legal powers but entrepreneurs struggling to get paid can complain to him.

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