Britain’s Fastest Payer Is…

Fast paying Tonbridge and Malling Borough CouncilTonbridge & Malling Council are presented the award for being the country’s fastest paying council.

Research carried out by the Forum of Private Business looked into the speed at which local authorities paid their suppliers.

The "winning" authority turned out to be Tonbridge and Malling Council in Kent.

The Government had asked all the country’s local councils to help struggling UK SMEs by paying their bills in 10 days or less and Tonbridge & Malling paid a massive 97% of their suppliers in that timeframe.

Julie Beilby, the CEO of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council, received the award from local MP Sir John Stanley and said:

The Council is very aware of how critical prompt payment can be to the cash flow of businesses and we are therefore very pleased to be an approved signatory to the Prompt Payment Code introduced by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

We are delighted that our achievement of 97% within 10 days hit the ‘top spot’ within the survey undertaken by the Forum of Private Business.

Phil Orford, CEO at the Forum of Private Business, had a message for small businesses to take away from the work of the council;

Our members tell us that one of the biggest problems they have is slow payment from big business, so to hear a local authority is paying so many suppliers and so quickly is really quite astonishing – but also most welcome. The private sector could learn a lot from this example.

Highlighting that late payment was still an issue for SMEs, Orford congratulated Britain’s fastest paying council:

While we are continuing to work alongside industry bodies in the UK to encourage more businesses to sign up to the Prompt Payment Code, it is important that the public sector leads the way, and that’s certainly the case here. Well done Tonbridge.

MP Sir John Stanley, who presented the award to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council had this to say:

It gives me great pleasure to be able to present this award today. When I was Minister of State for Housing and Construction between 1979 and 1983 I came across so many businesses that experienced financial difficulties because local authorities and national government agencies for whom they were working were so slow in paying.

Small businesses looking to follow best practice, and bigger firms too, should sign up to the Prompt Payment Code.

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