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Late council payments are slammed
3:00pm Friday 26th October 2012 in News
THURROCK Tories have blasted the council for taking more than 30 days to pay nearly 20 per cent of invoices in July.
A report to the council’s cabinet last week revealed one in five invoices were paid outside a 30-day period, 13 per cent below the council’s target.
The borough’s Conservatives fear local businesses are being hit hard by the problem.
Cllr Barry Johnson, the Tories’ spokesman on finance, said: “These figures are truly appalling. “If you were 30 days late paying your council tax, the council would send you a letter reminding you to pay. “But for some reason, the fact the council only pays four in five of its own bills on time is met by excuses.
“The reality is that, for lots of the small local businesses that do work for the council, being owed a few hundred pounds can be a serious worry and strain. “The council has to get a grip on this issue, otherwise good local businesses are at risk of going under because of the administration’s incompetence.”
Cllr Phil Smith, portfolio holder for central services, hinted action could be taken against council staff who are not abiding by financial rules.
He said: “I’m deeply disappointed and understand there are several reasons why we’re not hitting the target. “I’d like to make it quite clear to officers, please do not raise orders until you have the purchase order. It could be we have to take action against anyone who breaks those rules.
“It’s just good practice.”