Sheffield, Barnsley and Chesterfield councils ‘slow to pay their bills’

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SHEFFIELD, Barnsley and Chesterfield councils are among the slowest in the country to settle bills with suppliers.

Only a quarter of invoices are paid within 10 days, compared with a national average of 51 per cent.

Meanwhile, Rotherham is one of the best with 60.3 per cent paid within 10 days.

The Government is asking councils to pay suppliers within 10 days to help avoid cashflow problems for small and medium businesses.

The new statistics were revealed by the Forum of Private Business, which represents small firms.

Sheffield and Barnsley are the third slowest in Yorkshire and the Humber for paying suppliers within 10 days, with just 26 per cent of bills settled in the timescale.

In Chesterfield, the figure is just 21.4 per cent.

Barnsley also had the slowest average payment in the region, taking 50 days.

Sheffield took 23 days while Rotherham and Doncaster failed to provide a figure for the average number of days they took to pay their bills.

Robert Downes, policy adviser at the Forum of Private Business, said overall performance by councils in Yorkshire and the Humber had worsened since the forum last carried out a survey in 2009.

He said: “Despite all the pressure from Central Government for public bodies to pay money owed in less than 10 days, just two councils in the region are achieving that figure.”

Coun Bryan Lodge, Sheffield cabinet member for finance, said: “The statistics are not telling the whole story. 
“We pay 90 per cent of our suppliers within 30 days, which is faster than many large companies who can take up to 90 days to pay.

“We can arrange faster payments if needed. Locally, this is not something we receive complaints about.”

Rotherham paid 94.3 per cent in 30 days, Doncaster 91.5 and Barnsley 83 per cent.

* Bill Payment by numbers: Percentage of Sheffield Council bills paid within 10 days - 26; Percentage of bills settled in 30 days- 90; Average number of days Sheffield Council takes to pay its suppliers - 23.