Former MP Paul Uppal has been appointed as the Government's new small business commissioner.
Paul Uppal was the Conservative Member of Parliament for Wolverhampton South West between 2010 and 2015. He also has 20 years' experience as a small business owner in the real estate sector.
As commissioner, he will lead an independent office tasked with empowering UK small businesses. The role includes helping small firms to resolve disputes with larger businesses and driving "a culture change in payment practices". Small businesses will be signposted to existing support and dispute resolution services, via the commissioner's website.
Uppal said: "Running your own business can be a very lonely experience and my priority will be ensuring small firms feel supported as well as helping to create an overall impression that business isn't necessarily cut throat.
"In fact, successful businesses are built on integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and trusting relationships and I want to highlight that Britain can be the best place in the world for new entrepreneurs to establish and grow their own businesses."
Business secretary Greg Clark said: "I am delighted to announce Paul Uppal as the first small business commissioner. His extensive experience as a small business owner makes him perfectly suited to champion the interests of small business and bring about a change in culture that will create a level playing field for everyone.
"Supporting Britain's 5.5 million small businesses is at the heart of this Government's Industrial Strategy, and his ambition to tackle unfair payment practices will help support our goal to create an economy that works for all."
The office of the Small Business Commissioner will be operational by the end of 2017. The appointment builds on the Government's programme of support for small business since 2010, including:
The British Business Bank programmes supporting £3.4 billion of finance to over 59,000 smaller businesses;
Over 50,000 Start-Up Loans worth almost £340 million;
A network of 39 local growth hubs.
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