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Tories pledge more tenders for SMEs

The Federation of Small Businesses has backed Conservative proposals to open up the Government’s £125 billion procurement system to small and medium sized enterprises.

Earlier this week George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, announced that the Conservatives would, if elected to power, “aspire” to award 25 per cent of government contracts to SMEs.

It would also introduce a requirement whereby all contracts in excess of £10,000 would be published online after research indicated that three-quarters of firms polled found it difficult to find out about procurement opportunities.

In addition to scrapping the requirement for companies to provide three years of audited accounts when bidding for contracts, Mr Osborne said he would introduce a single pre-qualification questionnaire for all contracts worth less than £50,000.

FSB national chairman John Wright said: “The Government has pledged to offer more procurement contracts to small businesses, but currently only 16 per cent of contracts are awarded to SMEs.

'Small businesses are often put off by the length of time it can take to apply for contracts and are not always aware of where to find them.

“Opening up and simplifying the procurement process is a key element of the FSB’s own survival package and would provide a vital boost to small businesses and the economy. For these reasons alone the FSB supports the proposals put forward by George Osborne today.”

Setting out the policy proposals, Mr Osborne, said: “Small businesses are facing a difficult time and jobs are at risk. If Labour is serious about making a difference, it would pull its finger out and get on with adopting these proposals.”