Manchester tops table of promptest-paying cities

Contractors fed up of being out-of-pocket in Peterborough should try Manchester for a complete reversal in their fortunes -- at least in theory.

Micro-businesses supplying services in the reputed ‘Capital of the North’ have almost nine in 10 of their invoices paid on time, approaching double the rate of the national average.

In other words, small traders in Manchester get 86% of their invoices paid by the ‘due date’ or within three days of it, compared with just 53% across the UK as a whole.

Leeds is the second least affected city for late payment (where no more than 19% of invoices get paid late), followed by York (28% paid late) and then Nottingham (34% paid late).  

So, even in ‘prompt-paying’ cities, where late payment is less acute, “many” tiny entities like contractors are routinely not paid on time, said FreeAgent, which commissioned the findings.

And the rub is that single-person businesses, which were among the 60,000 polled by the cloud accountant, simply “don’t have the luxury of being able to absorb late payments”.

“They need to get paid promptly to keep their cash flow healthy,” said FreeAgent’s chief executive Ed Molyneux.

“[But] some of these late payments go way beyond a week or two, with some taking months to settle invoices, or even not paying at all.”

In line with his comments, 26% of the traders have had to wait as long as three to six months to get paid by a client, yet 10% have had a customer who never paid them at all.

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Written by Simon Moore

Simon writes impartial news and engaging features for the contractor industry, covering, IR35, the loan charge and general tax and legislation.
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