OLDHAM EAST and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams has been named the first winner of a new Business Buddy award for her work for the small business community.
The Federation of Small Businesses launched the awards in September to recognise those who work tirelessly to make a difference for entrepreneurs across the region and beyond.
And they selected Mrs Abrahams as the inaugural winner due to her founding the ‘Be Fair – Pay on Time’ campaign three years ago and making it one of her top ten priorities.
Since then she has been pushing the issue of late payment of invoices and lobbying in Parliament, particularly around the Small Business Bill, to tackle big businesses who abuse their supply chain.
Recently, her proposed amendments to ensure any small business would automatically be paid interest by the late payer were blocked by the Coalition Government.
Mrs Abrahams, who received the gong at her Oldham constituency office, said: “I’m really honoured to accept the first FSB Business Buddy award.
“I do so on behalf of everyone who has helped me with my Be Fair – Pay on Time campaign.
“The campaign was inspired by a Saddleworth constituent who told me how his small business was being squeezed by a huge, household name company that consistently paid him late.
“I researched the issue and was shocked to hear just how common this problem is for hard working small business owners, and not just locally, but across the country.
“It’s time that paying late, or finding ways to pay late and retain money, is seen as being as unethical as tax evasion.
“I will continue to campaign on this issue on behalf of all small businesses.”
Richard Gregg, the FSB’s Regional Chair in Manchester and North Cheshire, added: “Well done to Debbie – her work to end the disease of late payment is commendable and highly valued by organisations such as ours.
“It is more than fitting that Debbie should win the very first FSB Business Buddy Award. Long may she continue to be the friend of small businesses.”
New research by Bacs suggests £46billion of unpaid invoices washes around the UK supply chain at any one time and late payments.
Figures by the FSB show sixty per cent of small businesses report that late payment is a problem with the average small business waiting for £38,186 in overdue payments and one in four companies spend more than ten hours a week chasing late payments.
To nominate a person or organisation for the next FSB Business Buddy Award, email details to: firstname.lastname@example.org