The Times reports that efforts to prevent small companies being abused by large customers are being undermined by a lack of resources and the indifference of Whitehall officials, the former late payment watchdog has warned.

Paul Uppal, who stepped down as small business commissioner in October, said his office had been met with “radio silence” from civil servants and ministers over his approach to the job and that his budget was too small to tackle the “huge task” of getting big businesses to pay their bills on time.