Public procurement is the 'enemy of enterprise' says PM

8 March 2011

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8 March 2011 | Lindsay Clark

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has launched another broadside against public sector procurement.

In a speech to the Conservative Party Spring Forum in Cardiff, he said that public sector buying was geared towards larger suppliers to the detriment of smaller firms.

He described public sector procurement managers as “enemies of enterprise” who think “the answer to everything is a big contract with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from a massive potential market”.

Cameron reiterated an earlier promise to make public sector procurement friendlier to SME suppliers. “We've got billions of pounds of contracts to be won, but for too long they've gone to the same old big players,” he said.

“So we're throwing open the bidding process to every single business in our country - a massive boost for small businesses, because we want them to win at least a quarter of these deals.”

The government set its commitment to let a quarter of contracts to small and medium-sized businesses in the autumn of last year. It launched Contracts Finder last month, a free web-based service to help small businesses find public sector deals, and sub-contracting opportunities.

As reported by SM last month, Cameron told buyers he will stand by them if they take risks “with young, new, dynamic companies”.


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