Coun­cil urged to pay bills within 10 days

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Clubs Round-up - by Paul Fran­cis

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.”

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