The figures represents an increase of £2bn since the previous researched data was released with the average amount owed to SMEs across the UK standing at £45,000 each at the end of 2011, an increase of £6,000 from earlier in the year.
The figures come in spite of the proportion of SMEs who are experiencing late payment having fallen (down to 785,000 from 861,000), their combined debt has now reached record levels with businesses also now waiting longer for invoices to be settled.
In the second half of 2011, SMEs said they were waiting on average 29.6 days longer than agreed payment terms, an increase over the 28-day delay reported in the first half of 2011.
And it appears that big businesses are still, in the main, those least likely to pay on time as more SMEs (41%) say they are the “worst offenders” compared to private companies, individuals, other SMEs and government departments.
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