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Small Business: Government Contracts

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 8 July 2021

What steps the Government are taking to increase opportunities for small businesses to bid for Government contracts. (902400)

The UK spends £290 billion on public procurement each year. Now that we have left the EU transition period we want to make it simpler, quicker and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises and social enterprises to bid for Government contracts, as set out in our ambitious procurement Green Paper. We have already introduced a policy that will allow below-threshold contracts to be reserved for smaller UK suppliers, and we hope that our new approach to social value will secure wider public benefit, allowing us to contract with firms that deliver more apprenticeships, local growth opportunities and environmental benefits.

Many companies in Crawley and across the UK have been forced to adapt because of the covid-19 pandemic. Does my hon. Friend agree that they should have greater opportunity and access to bidding for Government contracts over outside competition?

I agree with my hon. Friend. We want a much greater variety of companies, including those in Crawley, to deliver Government contracts from every corner of our country, not just because it benefits local economies and communities but because it helps us to diversify our risk, create a more resilient supply base and deliver some of our critical priorities. We are going to be requiring contracts to be divided into smaller lots, publishing contract pipelines more transparently, and improving our guidance to small businesses that are looking to bid.