Lee-on-the-Solent entrepreneur highlights small businesses being stifled by late payments from larger companies at Westminster cashflow discussions

A SMALL business owner was one of a handful invited to Westminster to discuss current issues facing enterprises across the country.
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Susan Bonnar, from Lee-on-the-Solent, was invited to an event at Portcullis House to hear from industry leaders and MPs about the issues that are holding small business owners back and their plans to eliminate them. She runs handmade selling platforms The British Craft House and BuyIndie.

The main theme of the event was cashflow and how late and missed payments have a detrimental effect on small businesses, with some even leading to closures. Kevin Hollinrake, small business minister, and Liz Barclay, small business commissioner, both addressed event attendees.

Susan Bonnar, founder of The British Craft House with Vivien Maeda, Relationship Manager at Business in the Community Scotland, Leisa Pickles from Find me the Leads Ltd and Minal Patel from Marketing by Minal.Susan Bonnar, founder of The British Craft House with Vivien Maeda, Relationship Manager at Business in the Community Scotland, Leisa Pickles from Find me the Leads Ltd and Minal Patel from Marketing by Minal.
Susan Bonnar, founder of The British Craft House with Vivien Maeda, Relationship Manager at Business in the Community Scotland, Leisa Pickles from Find me the Leads Ltd and Minal Patel from Marketing by Minal.
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They called for businesses to be paid much quicker. Ms Bonnar said the topics discussed directly impacted many of her sellers on both platforms.

She added: ‘I’ve got sellers on my sites that categorically will not do business with large, well-known department stores because, despite it meaning their business would be put on a huge platform, they simply take too long to pay, which means they don’t have the funding to keep up with demand. It hits product-based businesses so much harder as they need the funding to invest in products and people aren’t as willing to pay upfront for products as they often are services.’

‘Unfortunately, it seems to always be the large organisations that are the worst culprits, which makes it harder for the small and micro businesses to grow.’

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, around 50,000 businesses are forced to close every year due to late payments and this could rise to 440,000 this year.

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Over £23.4bn is currently owed in outstanding invoices to UK businesses, according to the federation. Susan is joining leaders in urging all businesses to sign up to the Prompt Business Code – an initiative that was set up to prevent late payments.

Currently, the scheme has 5.2 million firms signed up to it. ‘My hope is that the charter will become something that all companies sign up to by default and that late payments don’t happen,’ Ms Bonnar said.

‘We could save so many businesses, talent and innovation from being lost due to poor payment practices.’

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