Small European businesses based in the UK pay their invoices more than two days faster than their British counterpart according to research by Opal Transfer.

The research shows EU businesses based in the UK, are 9% quicker to pay invoices than British owned business. EU firms based in the UK take 18.4 days on average to pay invoices compared to UK businesses taking 20.2 days. Bigger UK businesses are likely to be even slower at settling bills, perhaps as a consequence of the credit crunch when a business culture of late payment was reinforced in the UK.

A single late invoice can often ‘ripple’ through a supply chain of SMEs, causing cash flow problems for a whole host of smaller businesses. In an industry with high overheads, for example in terms of materials and labour costs for the construction or infrastructure sectors, this can make a huge difference.

The relatively speedy level of invoice payment amongst Europeans living in the UK, again reinforces the positive contribution Europeans make to the overall UK economy. The speed at which a business pays its suppliers is often used as a key metric to measure a businesses’ corporate social responsibility.

Gita Petkevica, managing director of Opal Transfer, said “EU nationals come to the UK because they want to work hard and to do well. It’s great that these figures show that Europeans are good corporate citizens too. It’s very common for businesses of all types and sizes to grumble about how long it takes to get an invoice paid. But the consequences of payment delays are very serious. Delayed payments put a lot of small businesses into insolvency.

“It is so good to see that in this area – prompt payment to suppliers – European businesses score very well. The UK government should do more to broadcast how important European businesses and European entrepreneurs are to the UK economy.”

“With Brexit talks currently at stalemate, we hope the British government will  once and for all guarantee the rights of all the owners of European small business based in the UK.”