Headlines: January 9th, 2009

Local authorities in Wales will get earlier monthly payments of their revenue support grant for the remainder of the current financial year. Payment dates next year may also be changed if there is evidence that this benefits councils and businesses.

Under the arrangement authorities will receive the monthly payments from the Welsh Assembly Government around five days earlier for the last few months of the year. Welsh Local Government Minister, Dr Brian Gibbons, said the decision would help councils to increase the number of payments they make to suppliers within ten days.

Dr. Gibbons said steps to encourage faster payments to suppliers across the public sector was an important part of the Assembly Government’s response to the current economic climate. It provides more than 240 million pounds a month in revenue support to unitary and police authorities across Wales and Dr. Gibbons added, “Paying the grant five days earlier each month will allow the authorities the opportunity to generate additional interest to offset the increased costs they face by reducing their invoice payment target to ten days from thirty currently.” At the same time, he said, the change to payment dates demonstrated the Government’s commitment to support the business community in Wales.

Before a decision is taken about payment dates for the next financial year the Assembly Government will assess the scale of the benefits local authorities get from the switch and the improvements they achieve in the time they take to pay invoices.