Sole traders in East of England hit hardest by late payment

Residents of the South West are best at paying businesses on time, with only 21% of sole traders forced to abandon payments

Sole traders operating in the East of England suffer the most from tardy payment, at an annual loss of £6,108 per microbusiness over the last year – more than double the national average of £2,472 – according to research from Paym.

The study found that 43% of sole traders across the Eastern counties were forced to give up chasing payments over that period, compared to the national average of 30%. Yorks & Humber (44%) and the West Midlands (37%) weren’t far behind.

In comparison, with only 21% of businesses having to abandon debts, South West residents are the most punctual at payment, closely followed by the South East and Wales (25%) and London (26%). Sole traders in the South West also report the lowest loss of earning from abandoned payments at £105 a month.

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However, even when businesses are paid many can find themselves short changed. Sole traders in Wales are the most happy to “forget the change” letting customers off an average of £7.75 to the national average of £2.70.

Research from Paym in August revealed that UK sole traders lost £8.1bn to abandoned late payments in the last year alone.

Earlier this week, new measures to support the Prompt Payment Code (PPC) and tackle the scourge of late payments were supported in a letter to PPC signatories from Margot James; minister for small business.

Craig Tillotson, executive chairman of Paym, said: “While some regions may be worse than others, late or abandoned payments are continuing to be a growing problem for sole traders across the whole of Britain.

“Chasing up late and overdue payments eats up valuable time, so it is understandable that an increasing amount choose to cut their losses.

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