The government has issued a promise stating that representative industry bodies will soon be able to challenge unfair payment terms subjected by companies onto their members, through a widening of their current collective powers.

Speaking on the issue, the government’s new business secretary, Sajid Javid, stated a consultation will be launched to expand upon the powers of representative bodies to allow them to successfully make such challenges.

At his first major speech in the position, Mr Javid also outlined plans for a conciliation service – to be introduced alongside the new powers, to assist sole traders and other small suppliers with payment problems against larger companies.

Talking to the audience in Bristol, Mr Javid went on to comment “it’s a subject that has exercised me for some time – [a] larger customer changing payment terms or charging them [smaller firms] to remain a supplier.”

“It’s bullying- pure and simple.”

The business secretary’s enthusiasm for fairer payment terms stems from his childhood, growing up above his father’s shop in a time where businesses provided fairer deals to their suppliers. The picture today, however, is very different, with the average sum owed to small firms now in the range of £30,000 – enough to make them insolvent.

This momentous task has been handed to the new small business minister, Anna Sourby, rather than Mr Javid himself. Ms Sourby’s other goals in the new conservative government will see her tackling insolvency in enterprise, deregulation and better regulation, access to finance, advancing the manufacturing sector, as well as individual regional growth.

Although lacking direct business experience (former positions include ITV’s This Morning), Ms Soubry was brought into the post as part of the Tory plan to foster blue-collar conservatism.

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