Slowest paying cities for freelancers -- revealed

Sheffield can claim the unenviable title of being the UK’s worst affected area for the late payment of freelancers’ invoices, a study shows.

The South Yorkshire city is home to just 24% of invoices that are paid within three days of the payment deadline or ‘due date,’ found the study by FreeAgent.

Nearby Leeds tends to fare better, paying 39% of freelancers’ invoices within the timeframe, but it still ranks in the study’s top five worst payers of such sole traders.

Stevenage shares fifth place (39% of freelancers paid no more than 3 days’ late); behind Slough -- 29% paid, and Twickenham -- 27% paid, making it the UK’s second worst payer.

Manchester, Aberdeen, York, Leicester and Norwich are the contrasts, ranked as the first, second, joint-third and joint-fourth top payers respectively, the study of 50,000 invoices shows.

But even Leicester and Norwich, the so-called third ‘best’ cities to be paid promptly as a freelancer, only pay quicker than three days’ late 58% of the time.

Nonetheless, freelancers with clients in the cities at the other end of the payment spectrum -- lead by Sheffield -- would be only too pleased if three days was the differential.

“This isn’t just clients taking an extra week or two to pay,” said FreeAgent’s CEO Ed Molyneux. “It also includes the chronic late payers who sit on invoices for months, as well as those who just don’t pay at all.”

A former freelancer, Mr Molyneux said it was “good news” that the government has been consulting on the appointment of a Small Business Commissioner.

However, he spoke of a “fear that whoever is appointed will have limited power to actually punish companies who routinely pay late, aside from just 'naming and shaming' them.”


15th December 2016

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