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Government Procurement

Volume 592: debated on Wednesday 11 February 2015

5. What change there has been in the proportion of Government procurement made through small businesses and the voluntary sector since May 2010. (907558)

The central Government’s direct spend with small businesses increased from 6.5% in 2009-10 to 10.5% in 2012-13, and small and medium-sized enterprises have benefited from a further 9.4% of indirect spend through the supply chain in that same year. I shall be publishing figures for 2013-14 shortly. We have moved a long way towards our ambition and aspiration that a quarter of Government procurement should be with SMEs.

What steps have the Government taken to make public procurement simpler, especially for small and micro-businesses on the Isle of Wight?

I am delighted that my hon. Friend has raised this point about supporting businesses in the Isle of Wight; he has been a huge and doughty champion of businesses in his constituency. We have made public procurement more transparent and accessible. We have published tenders and contracts through the contracts finder website—and we shall be launching a much-improved version of that very soon. We have simplified how procurement takes place to take away some of the bureaucracy that looked like it was designed to stop small businesses competing for, and winning, business. There is much more we can and will do.

12. Reading through the UK Statistics Authority booklet, I am struck by the number of times that the Government have been rebuked for giving false information in their statements. The Prime Minister is twice rebuked for giving the wrong facts about the debt, saying that it is falling when it has in fact been rising. Could the Cabinet Office get together with the UK Statistics Authority and agree to deal with facts, rather than fiction, in Government statements for the next three months? (907566)

Order. The question is about Government procurement, small businesses and the voluntary sector.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman made a very interesting point, but I am finding it hard to relate it to the question under consideration.