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EU procurement changes will favour SMEs

Simon Quicke

Small business suppliers selling into the public sector have been given a boost with the latest EU procurement directives mirroring UK government attempts to get more SMEs involved in large tenders.

The UK government is claiming the changes are a victory for its ongoing attempts to reform the EU and will not only provide more opportunities for SMEs to get involved with contracts but should reduce costs and save smaller firms money.

The government has restated its commitment to get 25% of all of its spend going through SMEs by next year and it believes the EU changes will encourage buyers to break large contracts into smaller lots and should save up to 60% of bidding process costs.

The changes will also make it easier for the government to exclude potential suppliers that have been guilty of professional misconduct or delivered a significant or persistent poor performance.

"My officials and I have been lobbying on this directive in Brussels and with other member states," said Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude, "EU rules used to make it hard for government to exclude suppliers with a poor performance record and so it’s good news that the changes will make it easier for us to manage contracts effectively."

EU member states will have a couple of years to make the changes to procurement procedure law but the UK is hoping to be ahead of the pack in continuing its commitment to improving the level of SME business.

"We will seek to transpose these rules into UK law quickly as the regulations will help British companies win business in other European countries," added Maude.


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