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London town halls fail to settle up in good time, say traders

PUBLISHED: 07:00 25 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:17 05 October 2010

TOO many town halls in London are taking a long time to pay their bills for goods and services. London is one of the worst-performing regions in Britain for suppliers getting their invoices settled up, the Forum of Private Business lobby group has found

By Mike Brooke

TOO many town halls in London are taking a long time to pay their bills for goods and services.

London is one of the worst-performing regions in Britain for council suppliers getting their invoices settled up, the Forum of Private Business lobby group has found.

Local authorities took an average 20 days, compared to the national average of 18.

The research using the Freedom of Information Act was timed to come a year after the Government urged councils to settle invoices within 10 days to help smaller businesses maintain cash flows during the recession.

Poorly-performing authorities included Waltham Forest in East London, which was in good company with the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea paying only five per cent on time.

“You would expect London councils to be leading the way on prompt payment,” said the Business Forum’s Phil McCabe. “But this clearly isn’t the case.

“Prompt payment is a huge issue for small companies, to maintain its cash flow.”

Worst of all was Ealing which only managed four per cent within 10 days, making it one of the worst in the UK for late payment.

But some, like the Greater London Authority, settled two-thirds of their invoices within 10 days.

Top of the pole in Britain was South Northamptonshire, 91 per cent within 10 days and on average less than six days.

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