Fighting the credit crunch
- Published 06/11/08 7:00 am
Certainly, there will be many local businesses who will applaud the council's intention to speed up payment of bills for goods and services.
But council leader Ian Marks, announcing a package of measures to try and lessen any detrimental impact caused by the economic situation, admits the authority must "tread cautiously."
He is right. Any "easing off" of action against bad payers could well bring a backlash from the good payers. It is one thing to warn that only genuine cases of hardship will result in a more sympathetic approach to enforcement, it is entirely another to actually achieve this. If there is one thing bad payers are good at, it is coming up with "genuine" reasons for delaying payment.
The idea is not dissimilar to the Government's offer to allow traders six months to pay VAT instead of the normal three.
We have spoken to numerous business people who actually oppose this idea. They believe it will benefit poorly managed businesses at the expense of those which are well-managed and have no difficulty paying VAT.
The same thing could happen locally if inefficient businesses or disorganised council tax payers are seen to be getting preferential treatment.
So, yes, we applaud the council's aims. But we also urge the council to "tread cautiously."