Paul Uppal on the high street

Paul Uppal, Forum Non-Executive Director
Late Payment & Bad Business Practices

Paul Uppal was the Government’s Small Business Commissioner from 2017 to 2019. Paul made giant strides towards ensuring fair payment practices for small businesses and changing the late payment culture in the UK by supporting them in resolving payment disputes with larger firms.

We are delighted that he has joined the board of the Forum of Private Business as a Non-Executive Director and will be working with us on developing our late payment campaigns as well as relaunching our “Hall of Shame” and the new web pages that accompany it.

With experience from being a Member of Parliament for his Midlands constituency, and from being a business owner in his own right, he is seen as a valuable addition to the Forum board.

He has joined at precisely the time that advice and support for businesses is in great demand, particularly as late payment has become even more of an issue during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul has made two films along with Forum Managing Director, Ian Cass. One looking at the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly on Britain’s high streets and the retail sector, the second looking at the hospitality sector.

Both of these sectors are dominated by small businesses, they are massive employers within the UK economy and both have been hit very hard by the pandemic. Both are also vulnerable to landlords charging rent that was not justifiable before the pandemic and certainly isn’t after it!

The UK’s High streets were under pressure long before the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK, and no one really seemed to have an answer to the issues high street retailers were facing. A combination of governments trusting market forces, local councils lack of planning and investment, high business rates and high rents, out of town shopping centres, pressure from online retailers and changing consumer behaviour all contributed towards a decline in many of the UK’s high streets.

There were some green shoots appearing as proactive councils started to act and creative retailers and landlords started to take a different approach. But then we had the Coronavirus pandemic and things got tougher.

The Forum of Private Business has been at the forefront of campaigning on behalf of the UK’s high streets and the businesses who inhabit them through our #RestoreTheHighStreet campaign and in this latest video, Ian Cass and Paul Uppal discuss some of the issues facing our high streets and what we can do to help them.

All retailers ask is that government makes it easy for them to do business and give them a level playing field to operate on, The Forum will continue to campaign on their behalf as well as giving them innovative ideas and supporting them when they need it. Our high streets are a precious resource and Paul and Ian are starting a conversation here that we hope will stimulate thought and lead to more discussions about how we can better utilise our high streets, making them the incubation units for innovative entrepreneurs who contribute to the UK’s economy and are a huge source of local employment.

Help us to help you. If you haven’t already joined us please do so. The more members and supporters we have, the stronger our voice becomes and the more help we can give.