BUSINESSES in Worcester could be in danger of going under with the number of late payments rising.

New data from insolvency firm Begbies Traynor, which has an office in Worcester, revealed that of the 1,000 businesses that entered insolvency nationally during 2018, 34 per cent had debtor days in excess of 57 days and 15 per cent for longer than 86 days.

During 2018, media companies had the highest average debtor days, waiting and average of 69 days for payment from customers.

This highlights how late payments could potentially be a significant factor of insolvency for Worcester businesses..

Brett Barton, partner at Begbies Traynor’s Worcester office, says: “In our work we regularly encounter the catastrophic effects of late payments, particularly on SME’s.

"The worrying growth of late payments must be addressed if we are to help Worcester businesses, and the UK economy, grow.

"Otherwise, the knock on effects will spiral out of control and this trend of late payment will constrict, squeeze and suffocate growing businesses.

"However even the largest companies are not immune from the impact of late payments as this practice impairs cash flow and makes businesses less competitive."

The data also revealed that the support services sector is most likely to be hit hard by late payments with almost 35,000 businesses reporting debtor days in the last year.

Of these businesses 260 went under during 2018 waiting for payment for an average of 25 days.

Mr Barton warned: "If this form of bad faith trading is allowed to continue then more Worcester businesses will inevitably go to the wall.

"It is simply not sustainable for suppliers to take the hit when payment is not made on time, even businesses with large financial resources and contingency plans will suffer."