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Northern Ireland councils fail to pay on time

A report by FSB has revealed that not a single council in Northern Ireland is hitting the Government’s target of paying 90 per cent of invoices within 10 working days and all invoices within 30 calendar days.

The report found only 46 per cent of invoices were paid in 10 working days from January to March this year, falling from 54 per cent in April-June 2015.

In 2015-16, the best performing council against the 10-day target was Belfast City Council, which paid an average of 72 per cent of invoices in this timeframe, but Newry, Mourne and Down District Council paid just 8 per cent.

The top performer for the 30-day target was Mid Ulster Council with 99 per cent, while Ards and North Down Council paid just 63 per cent in this interval.

FSB Northern Ireland Regional Chair John Friel said: “The good intentions of councils can no longer be allowed to provide cover for unacceptable actions.”

In September, the Northern Ireland Local Government Auditor called on councils to improve records for paying suppliers on time – something welcomed by Mr Friel.