Council high on payments chart

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SUNDERLAND City Council is among the quickest local authorities in the North East when it comes to paying suppliers, according to a new study.

The research has shown significant variations among councils in the region when it comes to paying their suppliers, but on average, councils in the region are settling invoices quicker than in 2009.

The Forum of Private Business repeated research it first carried out three years ago following Government orders last year that all councils should try to pay suppliers within a maximum of 10 days to help small firms’ cash-flow.

Research for the North East showed an average 52.9 per cent of invoices in 2011/12 were 
paid in this time frame, an improvement from 45 per cent in 2009.

Allerdale, in Cumbria, was the quickest council the North taking just 5.3 days, making it the sixth fastest-paying council nationally.

Sunderland and North Tyneside were in joint second place at 12 days each. Darlington was slowest in the region, taking an average time of 30 days.

The figures put the North East as the fourth fastest payers out of all the English regions.

The research, which was carried out using Freedom of Information requests issued between May and July, still points to something of a lottery for suppliers.