We are committed to tackling fraud and error in all areas of Government business, including public procurement. We believe that we can save the taxpayer billions of pounds a year by doing that across Government. Every central Government body will carry out a spend recovery audit by the end of next year, which should generate savings of between £50 million and £100 million. The Home Office and the Department for Transport have already recovered significant amounts by doing this.
In welcoming the greater efficiencies and economies of scale that come from centralised procurement, does my right hon. Friend recognise the danger that centralised procurement can, in effect, throw up barriers to entry for smaller suppliers? Might this not help to explain why small and medium-sized enterprises are not always getting their fair share?
As I said earlier, SMEs are increasing their share of Government business. It has doubled since the election and is set to continue further. I point my hon. Friend to what happened with the Government’s aggregated travel contract when we brought it together: one of the two contracts for travel across the whole of Government was won by a small business, which is rapidly becoming a bigger one.