ANALYSIS of data from millions of SMEs shows Swindon is in the top 10 least risky areas in the UK for late payment.

Invoicing platform Solna carried out research to see what areas small businesses were most at risk from not getting paid on time from invoices and services.

More than 120 areas were ranked based on how quickly businesses paid their invoices and Swindon was the seventh least risky area, behind only much more remote locations such as Aberdeen, Hemel Hempstead, in Hertfordshire and the Outer Hebrides.

The least risky place was Lerwick, and the worst places were dominated by larger cities, including central London, Bolton, Oldham, Luton, Birmingham, Sunderland and Romford.

“There is a combination of cultural, geographical, and economic reasons why people in more rural areas have better scores than businesses based in London and other urban areas.” said Solna’s CEO and co-founder, Inna Kaushan.

“Businesses in a smaller community, or a place with a strong sense of community, are more likely to pay their suppliers on time because they’re more likely to know them and becoming known for unreliability could be really damaging to their business in such a small world.

"When a business delays payment because of cash flow issues, they create cash flow issues for their suppliers too. Those suppliers might then delay paying their own invoices, and on and on it goes.”

The current political climate and uncertainty caused by the political deadlock over Brexit is also weighing down on businesses.

“Brexit uncertainty has an impact on small businesses in Britain. While the landscape is fluctuating, businesses need to make sure they’re doing everything they can to manage cash flow, prevent late payments, and stay prosperous in order to cope with whatever is around the corner.”

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, 58 per cent of their members are owed up to £10,000 in late payments and 27 per cent are owed over £20,000.

Small businesses commissioner Paul Uppal, whose office handles late payment disputes, will hold a talk in Swindon in May at the Workshed.