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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.”

Henry Williams
Henry Williams

Henry has been writing for Startups.co.uk since 2015, covering everything from business finance and web builders to tax and red tape. He’s also contributed to many of our industry-renowned annual indexes, including Startups 100 and Young Guns, and created a number of the site’s popular how to guides. Before joining the team, he reviewed films for a culture website, and still harbours ambitions of being a screenwriter.

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