SMEs encouraged to apply for government contracts

The government has launched new measures to “level the playing field” for smaller businesses bidding for government work.

Under the new proposals, announced by Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Dowden, suppliers will have to advertise subcontracting opportunities via the Contracts Finder website. They will also have to provide the government with data showing how businesses in their supply chain, including small businesses, are benefiting from supplying to central government.

Suppliers that cannot demonstrate fair and effective payment practices with their subcontractors will be excluded from major government procurements. Other plans include allowing subcontractors to have greater access to buying authorities to report poor payment performance.

The Prime Minister has also written to members of her Cabinet to nominate a Small Business Champion minister in each department, to ensure that SMEs are given a fair opportunity.

These measures are designed to ensure that more businesses, including smaller firms, will be able to supply goods and services to the public sector, while also making government buying more transparent.

Oliver Dowden, Minister for Implementation, said: “We have set a challenging aspiration that 33 per cent of procurement spend should be with small businesses by 2022 - and are doing more than ever to break down barriers for smaller firms.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the UK economy, and play a key role in helping us to build a strong, viable private sector that delivers value for taxpayers and jobs for millions all over the UK.”