NBRA: small businesses need protecting

The National Body Repair Association (NBRA) has urged the government to grant the soon-to-be-appointed small business commissioner greater powers to protect small businesses.

It has written to the Minister for Small Business, The Rt Hon Margot James MP welcoming the impending appointment of the small business commissioner in October. The NBRA has shared its thoughts on the role, specifically the powers that the role will have in attempting to rectify the late payment culture that inhibit the UK economy and threatens the survival of thousands of bodyshops every year.

Jason Moseley, NBRA director, said, ‘We are hopeful that the introduction of such a role will readdress the balance of power between large firms and small businesses. However, NBRA is concerned that the prospective powers the government has given the incoming commissioner are not robust enough to overcome the issue of firms delaying payments to small enterprises.’

Therefore the NBRA has recommended the following: giving the small business commissioner the ability to fine persistent offenders; a compulsory daily interest rate on payments that exceed 30 days; the ability to impose penalties on firms who do not comply when requested to take part in the mediation process; a bill requiring government agencies and departments ensure all procurement invoices are paid within 30 days.

Jason continued, ‘Following a similar investigation by the Competition Market Authority (CMA), we have also highlighted the case of Drive Assist UK, whereby the firm repeatedly refused to pay its invoices on time, before declaring bankruptcy whilst still in debt to several NBRA members. This contextualises how serious the issue of late payments is.

‘We have expressed our interest in meeting with the minister to discuss the possibilities of overcoming the culture of late payments further, as well as protecting repairer funds when dealing with accident management companies.’