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Volume 567: debated on Wednesday 4 September 2013

10. What recent assessment he has made of implementation of the Government’s procurement reforms. (900036)

As a result of the Government’s procurement reforms, we have made the way we do business more competitive, more transparent, better value and far simpler than ever before.

I thank the Minister for that answer. Are the Government still allowing large corporations that are being investigated for fraud to bid to run our probation services while excluding small businesses and organisations from doing the same?

The hon. Gentleman will find that the contracts he might be alluding to were all let by the previous Government, and I have already informed the House of the progress we are making in shifting Government business to SMEs.

The Public Administration Committee’s report on procurement stated that the Cabinet Office should work with all Departments, and especially the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to ensure that UK business is prepared to deliver UK contracts. What progress is being made on that?

The most important thing to remind the House about in that regard is how the pipelines we have published show British firms, and indeed firms around the world that have a good piece of value to offer the British taxpayer, where they can find contracts.

Britain has a massive trade deficit with the European Union, and it could be reduced if British companies were employed to provide for the Government. How much are the Government doing to ensure that public organisations purchase from British companies, rather than those from the continent of Europe?

I understand the point that the hon. Gentleman is seeking to make. What we seek is best value for the British taxpayer and to use the British Government’s procurement spend to allow for growth as far as possible in this country. We are of course bound by certain EU procurement rules, with which I am sure he is very familiar. [Interruption.]

Order. There are a lot of very noisy conversations taking place, including on the Opposition Benches, but I am sure that Members will wish to be quiet to hear Stella Creasy.