THE UK Government now has a Small Business Commissioner, Paul Uppal whose brief is late payments. Paul was appointed to this new post in January.

**

The SBC's website

Via the Office of the Small Business Commissioner's website, small businesses and sole traders (that'd includes us freelances) can raise complaints about tardy payment.

But you can only do so if you haven't already started legal action to recover the money. Also, the Commissioner's Office will only handle complaints against "big" businesses with more than 50 employees. Good luck ringing up the debtor to establish how many employees they have!

Should you decide to make use of the Office of the Small Businesses Commissioner, let us know how you get on. As ever, you are advised to contact the Freelance Office first about late payment issues see contacts on back page). NUJ members see also the guidance on using the Late Payment of Commercial Debts law, at www.londonfreelance.org/collect.html; anyone can use the interest calculator at www.londonfreelance.org/interest.html; and see the Freelance Fees Guide for more late payments interest calculator and more on chasing late payments and using the Small Claims Court to prise money from debtors. It's at www.londonfreelance.org/feesguide.