On 26th December Thursday, an employers’ group criticised the government for rejecting to clear up confusion about the departure of its small business commissioner.
The Forum of Private Business said that it had received a “completely inadequate” response after requests to the business department for an explanation of why its small business commissioner, Paul Uppal had suddenly left his role.
Uppal had stepped down as commissioner in October but he had “reportedly” been forced out. However, he is not sure why. Uppal had criticised the government for not giving his office enough support, and that there had been “radio silence” from civil servants and ministers over his approach to the job. He had also emphasised that his budget was too small to tackle the “huge task” of getting big businesses to pay their bills on time.
The post was created in 2016 to mediate in payment disputes on behalf of small companies and to promote fairer treatment of suppliers after concerns that there was a culture of late payment of commercial debts.
Ian Cass, managing director of the forum, said the government must explain the circumstances surrounding Mr Uppal’s departure because the issue was “very important to our members and all the other small and micro businesses that Paul had worked so hard to understand, build trust with, support and help”.
A permanent replacement for Mr Uppal has yet to be found.