We are doing more than ever to encourage SMEs in public procurement. Recently published figures show an increase in spend from the previous year. Examples of measures that we have taken include streamlining procurement processes and improving transparency and, from September, we will be able to exclude suppliers that fail to pay subcontractors on time.
Research from the Federation of Small Businesses shows that 25% of businesses that are in supply chains for public infrastructure projects experience late payment more than half the time. Along with the Government lagging dismally behind their target of spending 33% of central Government procurement with SMEs by 2022, is this not yet more evidence that they simply do not represent the interests of small businesses?
I would have thought that the hon. Gentleman would welcome figures that show we are spending more with small businesses than ever before. On his point about prompt payment, we set a very challenging target of 90% of undisputed invoices from SMEs being paid within five days and we are meeting that for most Departments.