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Defence Spending: Small Firms

Volume 612: debated on Monday 27 June 2016

13. What steps he is taking to increase the proportion of defence spending that goes to small firms. (905485)

Small businesses are a crucial engine for growth and innovation in this country, and we are determined that they should play an increasing part in supplying defence. We are committed to achieving 25% of our procurement spend with small and medium-sized enterprises by 2020, and that target is 10% higher than the one set during the last Parliament. We recently refreshed our SME policy to show how we will work to achieve that.

What steps is my hon. Friend taking to make it as simple as possible for small firms to benefit from this increased spend?

We have already appointed a new network of supply chain advocates to provide a named point of contact for potential suppliers. We are providing a new online tool for suppliers to highlight opportunities, and we are simplifying our standard terms and conditions.

I should maybe come to questions more often.

A former First Sea Lord told the Defence Committee that the delay in the Type 26 frigate programme was due to money problems in the Ministry of Defence budget. Will the Minister tell the House, and more importantly tell the workers on the Clyde, how many jobs will be lost and what the impact will be on its world-class apprenticeship programme?

Apprentices are very important to maintain the skills on the Clyde to complete the Type 26 programme. The intention is that once we have signed the contract we will have clarity on the best value for money for the taxpayer. That is our priority.