Council urged to pay bills within 10 days
KENT County Council is being urged to help small businesses by paying its bills to contractors quickly.
The call has come from County Hall’s opposition Labour group, which says KCC should follow a Government pledge that it would pay its bills to small businesses within 10 days.
The commitment was made by Gordon Brown on a visit to the county last week.
County finance chiefs said they would consider the proposal but warned it could come at a price. At the moment, the authority aims to pay contractors within a month.
Cllr Nick Chard (Con), KCC’s cabinet member for finance, said extra staff may have to be taken to speed up the process. He also warned the council could lose some of the interest it earns on money kept on deposit before settling accounts.
He said: “We are considering it but we have to have a clear idea of what would qualify as a small or medium-sized business. Logis- tically, it would be quite difficult to pay in 10 days.”
Cllr Roger Truelove, Labour spokesman for regeneration, said: “Good cash flow means jobs and a stable economy, especially in a county like Kent, where our businesses are mostly small or medium-sized enterprises. Paying bills quickly is a vitally important way to help small businesses keep their cash flow going, especially in today’s global economic climate, when banks won’t necessarily be willing to tide them over.”