Government appoints SME Crown representative

A business lobby group is challenging the government’s newly appointed small business crown representative to get tough on late payments in the sector, as part of his remit to ensure government gets the best value and small businesses have improved access to government contracts

Martin Traynor takes over from former SME Crown representative, Emma Jones, who stepped down at the end of last year, following two years in the post.

He is the deputy chairman of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, runs his own training and consultancy business and is the former group chief executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce.

Traynor is also the non-executive chairman of the King Richard III Visitor Centre Trust, which set up a visitor attraction following the discovery of the former King’s remains underneath a car park in Leicester.

As the small business Crown representative, Traynor will lead on the overall relationship between the government and small businesses, advise ministers on the government’s engagement with them, and identify any barriers they face when working with the government.

Traynor said: ‘The government buys a wide range of goods and services from businesses right across the country.

This represents a huge opportunity for many of the UK’s small businesses and I will work with colleagues from across the government to tackle any barriers to our procurement processes.’

The Forum of Private Business (FPB) welcomed Traynor’s appointment and said it expected him to bring a focus to two specific areas.

Ian Cass, FPB managing director, said: ‘Firstly we will be looking for government to blacklist any company, whatever its size, with payment terms of in excess of 60 days, and who are not signed up to the Prompt Payment Code.

‘And he must drive through a changed mentality within government whereby those who actually do the job should be contracted, not umbrella corporations like Carillion, who take the profit, and subcontract to small businesses at every decreasing margins.

‘At the Forum we look forward to working with Mr Traynor on both counts.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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