UK outspends rest of the EU on large procurement contracts

New research has highlighted that the UK is spending almost double the rest of the EU combined on large procurement contracts.

The new TaxPayers’ Alliance report, Reforming Public Procurement, reveals that the UK awarded more contracts (167) worth €100 million or more than any other EU country, and almost six times the number published by France, the next highest.

The group has warned that this is leaving the UK over-reliant on outsourcing to very large companies like Capita, Atos, G4S, and Serco.

As part of its suggested recommendations, the TaxPayers’ Alliance urges for more agile procurement, allowing for more flexibility and discretion. The government should also involve more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in order to reap new benefits.

Jan Zeber, author of the report, said: "From staplers to warships, public procurement regularly accounts for approximately a third of total public spending. It is therefore crucial that value for taxpayers is at the heart of all public-sector purchasing decisions, no matter whether it's a multi-million-pound military vessel or stationery for the Cabinet Office. The report outlines a number of positive steps which can be taken to improve the procurement process by saving money and increasing efficiency."