Business owners hit by unfair payment practices and struggling to get a bill paid by a large business can from today complain to the newly appointed small business commissioner.
Former MP and entrepreneur Paul Uppal was given the role in October.
Although the decisions are not legally binding, the commissioner's office will take on complaints and speak to both sides before coming up with recommendations for resolving the problem.
The service is for businesses with under 50 staff and dealing with an unpaid invoice from a company with more than 50 staff.
The commissioner can't deal with complaints if legal action, mediation, adjudication or arbitration has begun as well as some other criteria.
A new website has also been launched which offers advice for dealing with late payments and highlights existing help and resources.
It recommends a 'check, chase, and choose' approach:
- check if the right information has been provided to the right people in order for an invoice to be paid
- chase effectively when a payment is overdue
- choose how to take further action, including the option of submitting a complaint to the small business commissioner
According to the government, a third of payments to small businesses are late and 20% small businesses have faced cash flow problems due to late payments.
It says that if small firms were paid on time, it could boost the economy by £2.5bn every year.
Regulations came into force in April requiring large businesses to publically report the average time they take to pay their suppliers.
So far 200 companies have submitted payment reports.
Enterprise Nation spoke to small business commissioner Paul Uppal last month. Watch our exclusive video interview here.