Small firms given more opportunities for public sector contracts

The report, five years in the making, analyses the developing nature of business since Lord Young's appointment as Enterprise Advisor in October 2011.

A stand out feature of the report is the government's plan to abolish Pre-Qualification Questionnaires (PQQs) for all low value contracts, and to standardise these for contracts above the EU threshold. This is a change to the previous system, whereby small businesses often lacked the resources that were made available to larger firms, making it harder for them to compete in the public sector.

The proposed changes will come into place from April. Lord Young said: "PQQs have been found to be onerous by small businesses, often imposing more than 40 pages of questions before they can be considered for bidding for a contract."

The report also details a 'golden age' for small businesses, with a record number now operating in the UK. Since 2010, the amount of small firms has increased by 760,000, and now numbers 5.2 million. This has boosted employment levels, with 48 per cent of private sector employees now operating in small firms.

The report states that obstacles which previously prevented small firms from initiating a business are slowly falling away - in part due to the growing influence of new technologies, particularly the proliferation mobile and digital devices to further business prospects.

Lord Young said: "In the last five years I have met countless numbers of inspiring entrepreneurs and small firms – from all ages and backgrounds and all reporting that starting a business is the most exciting and challenging thing they have ever done."

The findings of the report have been hailed by the Prime Minister, who stated: "Lord Young has made a huge contribution as my Enterprise Advisor, with his reports driving home the importance of getting things right for small businesses and start ups."

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