Just 51% of UK micro-businesses receive prompt payment

Businesses in Manchester are least affected by late payments, while firms in Sheffield are the worst

The UK’s small business community is continuing to suffer from a late payment culture, with just 51% of businesses paid on time, according to research from FreeAgent.

The study of more 50,000 micro-businesses and freelancers found that those in Sheffield had the fewest invoices paid on time last year (24%), followed by Twickenham (27%), Slough (29%) and Leeds (39%).

However, respondents in Manchester fared the best, with 75% of invoices sent last year paid promptly. Aberdeen and York were next (both 61%), followed by Leicester and Norwich (both 58%).

A consultation is currently underway to establish how the recently announced small business commissioner will tackle the late payment problem.

Ed Molyneux, CEO and co-founder of FreeAgent, said: “We know that late payment is a huge issue for the UK economy, but our research shows just how widespread it is for the freelance and micro-business sector.

“Micro-business owners need to get paid promptly to keep their cash flow healthy and most don’t have the luxury of being able to absorb a late – or non – payment in their accounts. We need to see a complete cultural shift when it comes to paying invoices, so that these types of smaller businesses are not put at risk.”

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