(ANSA) - Venice, August 29 - More than 46,000 Italian businesses have failed since the economic crisis began, many from cash-flow problems, the CGIA Mestre research agency said Wednesday. And government agencies are some of the slowest to pay, the association for small businesses notes. The number of business failures reached 46,400 as of June, and about 30% of those were due to slow payments for work performed by the struggling firm, says CGIA. Italy's problems in this area are higher than the European average of about 25% of businesses that collapse due to slow payments. Part of the blame goes to the economic crisis, as payment delays in Italy have increased between 2008 and early 2012 - by eight days in commercial transactions between private companies and fully 45 days when a public agency is making the payment. The problem involving government agencies is "dramatic", says the CGIA. It says the Italian average length of time between a service performed and payment is 180 days - almost three times the 65-day average for payment in France and far higher than Britain's 43-day period, or German's 36-day average.