- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
1:10pm Monday 14th November 2011
MONMOUTHSHIRE council is the worst-performing authority in Gwent and third worst in Wales for paying bills on time, new figures show.
In each of the last four quarters, Monmouthshire has been behind its Gwent counterparts when paying invoices on time.
The figures were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Mid and West Wales AM Joyce Watson.
Councils are meant to pay uncontested invoices within 30 days, and are encouraged by the Assembly to do so within ten days.
In the past year, only Anglesey and Merthyr Tydfil came below Monmouthshire.
Between April and June this year, the latest figures available, the council paid 19 per cent of its bills within ten days and 74 per cent of its bills inside 30 days.
Caerphilly was 62 per cent and 91 per cent respectively, Torfaen was 55 per cent and 91 per cent, Newport was 65 per cent and 93 per cent and Blaenau Gwent was 39 per cent and 79 per cent.
In the past year the council paid, on average, 21 per cent of its bills within ten days and 76 per cent inside 30.
Mrs Watson said delays were “hurting” small businesses, adding: “Procurement contracts are a crucial way in which public bodies can support Welsh business, and reliable cash-flow is vital for smaller firms, especially.”
Cabinet member for finance Phil Murphy said the council accepted it could do better at paying bills on time, but described the notion they were letting businesses down as “preposterous”.
Cllr Murphy said helping business was one of the council’s spending priorities.
He said: “We are working on a range of improvements to the way we deal with this vital responsibility and I’m confident that we will soon see a significant improvement.”
Original Source: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/9362098.Monmouthshire_council____late_in_paying_bills___/