The appointment of Liz Barclay to the office of the Small Business Commissioner has been welcomed today by the Money Advice Trust, the charity which runs Business Debtline. The broadcaster and long-standing advocate for small business will take up the appointment in June, succeeding interim Commissioner Philip King.
The appointment of the UK’s new Small Business Commissioner comes as the impact of Covid-19 is exacerbating the long-running problem of late payments that the office was established to tackle in 2016. Almost three quarters (72%) of self-employed people surveyed by the Money Advice Trust in November said that late payments were being exacerbated by the pandemic – with 38% reporting an increase in late payments since the Coronavirus outbreak began.
Liz Barclay currently serves an Ambassador for Business Debtline, the UK’s only dedicated free debt advice service for small business owners – and will be stepping down from that voluntary position before taking up this new public appointment.
Joanna Elson CBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs Business Debtline, said: “I can think of no better choice to be the UK’s Small Business Commissioner than Liz Barclay. Liz’s long-standing passion for advocating on behalf of small businesses means she undoubtedly brings the confidence of the small business sector to this role – which has never been more important than in the wake of Covid-19.
“Late payments are a problem affecting around half of the small business owners we help at Business Debtline – and the issue is being exacerbated by the economic impact of the pandemic. We look forward to continuing to work with the Small Business Commissioner team to help address this problem, which is crucial for the UK’s economic recovery.
“Liz has also been an outstanding Ambassador for the Money Advice Trust, focusing particularly on supporting our work at Business Debtline – and while she is rightly now stepping down from that voluntary position, I am pleased that we will continue to work together in this new capacity.
“I would also like to thank the interim Small Business Commissioner, Philip King, for his tireless work in the role over the last 14 months – including supporting small business owners through the immediate wake of the Covid-19 crisis. It is clear that his work has put the organisation in a strong position to do even more to tackle this problem in the years ahead.”