The UK government has established a panel of business people to help it boost spending with SMEs.
The panel, made up of 24 entrepreneurs and leading business figures, met for the first time on Tuesday. They will help ensure £1 of every £3 spend by Whitehall on goods and services goes to SMEs by 2020.
The Cabinet Office (CO) has estimated that 27% of government procurement spending, amounting to £12.1bn, went to SMEs in 2014-15, though this figure has been disputed by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee.
Ben Gummer, minister for the CO and paymaster general, said: “This advisory panel will provide a crucial source of advice, ideas and support to this government to help us meet our commitment to spend more with SMEs than any government ever before and to and help small businesses grow and prosper as they look to new opportunities around the globe.”
John Manzoni, chief executive of the civil service and permanent secretary for the CO, said: “These 24 business experts from across the UK will help government improve the procurement process so it is simpler, clearer and faster for SMEs.”
Entrepreneur Emma Jones, the crown representative for SMEs, will work closely with the panel to help more small businesses in the UK bid for and win government contracts.
Panel member Hugh Griffiths, chief executive of Inzpire, said: “This panel is a superb idea and a solid example of government support for entrepreneurs like us. Fundamentally, SMEs like Inzpire have something exciting and fresh to offer the country and I look forward to working in partnership with government to reach their target.”
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