Small businesses benefitting more than ever from government business, new figures reveal

Small businesses won a record-breaking amount of government work, new figures released by the Cabinet Office reveal today (Tuesday 15 August).

The new figures, which underline the government’s commitment to helping SMEs benefit from government contracts show that UK small businesses received £21 billion worth of work in 2021/22. This equates to around £3.8k per British small business.

Government work won by small businesses range across all sectors, including public infrastructure – supporting building schools and hospitals, defence – developing high end technology to keep the country safe and healthcare – helping keep the country healthy through clinical, medical and digital health services, as well as many more.

The figure is an increase of £1.7bn on the previous year, and the highest since records began, representing the fifth consecutive year that government work won by small businesses has increased.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Jeremy Quin said:

Today’s record-breaking figures demonstrate our commitment to ensure more small businesses benefit from public sector spending, by reducing barriers to entry and encouraging a more diverse market.

One in three pounds of public money is spent on public procurement, which is why through the Procurement Bill we are improving the way it is regulated to save the taxpayer money and drive benefits across every region of the country.

The news comes as the Minister of the Cabinet Office meets with SME supplier Wagtail in Flintshire, Wales later today. The company provides detection dogs and related services for government departments and agencies including the UK Border Force, HM Revenue & Customs, Police, Trading Standards and Armed Forces.

As well as seeing the benefits of innovative procurement practices in action, the Minister will see how the Procurement Bill will make it easier for small businesses, such as Wagtail, to win government contracts.

Under new rules all departments and public bodies will be required to consider SMEs when designing their procurements, meaning that more SMEs will get to compete for and win government contracts through simpler and more flexible regulations.

The new rules also include:

  • Greater visibility of upcoming work, giving SMEs more time to gear up for bidding
  • A new central platform showing future work in each area. This means for example a new SME tech firm in Lancashire will be able to search for tech opportunities upcoming in their region
  • Creating one single website to register on, rather than the multiple and time consuming systems SMEs currently have to register on before bidding for work
  • Reducing unnecessary insurance costs before a supplier has even bid for a contract
  • A new Competitive Flexible procedure, which will allow contracting authorities to design more innovation into the process.
  • Strengthening prompt payment, so that businesses throughout the public sector supply chain receive payment within 30 days

At the visit, the Minister will meet with Adam Vizard from Wagtail’s senior leadership team to learn about the business and its experience tendering for public contracts. He will also meet with the company’s professional dog trainers and operational handlers, observing demonstrations with a fully trained detection dog.

Notes to Editors:

  • Data on SME spending can be found here. An SME is generally defined as an organisation with fewer than 250 (FTE) employees and a set limit for annual turnover or balance sheet totals on their company accounts.

Link: Small businesses benefitting more than ever from government business, new figures reveal
Source: Assent Information Services

One-stop-shop to help businesses save money and go green

  • Business website offers new help for Britain’s 5.5 million SMEs to save on their energy bills while reducing their emissions
  • the hub will provide small businesses with advice on everything from paying less for EVs, getting a low-carbon heat pump, to generating green energy and selling it back to the grid to make money
  • comes as industry leaders and ministers on the new Net Zero Council call on all businesses from Aberystwyth to Aberdeen to develop net zero sector roadmaps

British businesses will be able to access brand new advice and support to reduce their energy bills while cutting their carbon emissions.

The UK Business Climate Hub launched today (14 August 2023) includes a free carbon calculator and a suite of new tools to help businesses measure, track and report on their emissions and save money by using less energy. It offers detailed advice on everything from sourcing products from green suppliers and reducing emissions from freight and logistics to the most cost-effective ways of installing solar panels and electric vehicle (EV) charging points.

Research shows that such measures can significantly save companies on their overheads. For example:

  • switching to EVs can not only cut running costs but also lower servicing and maintenance costs by around 40% compared to petrol or diesel cars
  • with up to half of companies’ overall electricity bill coming from lighting, making changes such as switching to LED bulbs can help shave up to 40% off bills
  • giving drivers fuel efficiency training can help save companies an average of 15% on fuel use and carbon emissions in transporting goods

The new support is aimed particularly at 5.5 million small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK, with business and industry accounting for around 25% of emissions. Research shows that 90% of SMEs are keen to tackle climate change, but find it difficult to know how or where to start to find the right solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.

Studies also show 85% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with a reputation for sustainability, meaning going green can help grow the economy.

Minister of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, Graham Stuart, said:

The UK has cut its emissions more than any other major economy in the world. More and more businesses are recognising the business benefits of reaching net zero and we’re determined to empower them to do so.

The new UK Business Climate Hub is a one-stop-shop for businesses to find practical advice to reduce their carbon footprint and save on their energy bills.

Whether it’s fitting a low-carbon heat pump, generating energy with solar panels, or reducing the emissions from shipping goods, the new support will ensure businesses can drive towards net zero.

The new UK Business Climate Hub serves as a one-stop-shop for businesses who have yet to start making changes, as well as those who are already taking action to reduce emissions but want to take things to the next level. As well as helping bosses measure and report on their emissions, the site provides advice and support on an array of things, including:

  • switching employee modes of transport and paying less for company EVs
  • getting business grants, green loans and financing for a retrofit
  • getting an air source heat pump
  • generating green energy with a wind turbine and selling it back to the grid
  • reducing emissions from farming and land use
  • buying credible carbon offsets
  • getting low-carbon product labels and certifications
  • reducing waste and recycling more

National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, Martin McTague, said:

We are pleased to have contributed to the new UK Business Climate Hub that will provide businesses with trusted tools and information to help them navigate the net zero transition.

SMEs recognise their role in net zero but many still find it challenging to access the relevant support and resources to play their part. This new official platform for advice and support will really help.

In addition to helping small firms become more energy and resource efficient, the hub also has the opportunity to empower small firms to take ambitious steps towards net zero, ultimately ensuring that they also benefit from the economic opportunities created in a net zero economy.

The new site is endorsed by business leaders and ministers on the new Net Zero Council and comes as the organisation calls on business representative organisations across the country to take concerted action to plan to reduce their members’ emissions.

The group, comprising CEOs from leading companies including Co-op, HSBC, Siemens and Cemex, have developed a new business roadmap framework to help empower businesses to work with others in their sector to create tailored action plans for their own industry to decarbonise.

These sector roadmaps would help companies the length and breadth of the country, from Aberdeen to Aberystwyth, and Penzance to Peterborough, to transition to net zero.

Co-Chair of the Net Zero Council, Co-op Group Chief Executive Shirine Khoury-Haq, said:

None of us will get to net zero without all of us getting to net zero, so ensuring that every business and every sector has a clear plan for delivering this non-negotiable target is key. I hope the UK Business Climate Hub will be a valuable tool for business leaders looking for guidance and support in this vital endeavour.

The framework, which has been endorsed by the Net Zero Council and that is being published today, is designed to support organisations working to articulate a credible roadmap to net zero on a sector by sector basis.

In 2020 the UK was estimated to already have over 400,000 jobs in low carbon businesses and their supply chains across the country, with turnover at £41.6 billion. Over 80,000 green jobs are currently being supported or are in the pipeline because of new government policies since 2020, with that expected to increase to as many as nearly half a million by 2030.

Notes to editors

The new UK Business Climate Hub, which is being managed by the Broadway Initiative, has been developed in partnership with associations such as the Federation of Small Business and the Institute of Directors and with support so far from the British Business Bank, HSBC, NatWest, Electricity North West, Northern Powergrid and National Grid. It is the UK partner of the international SME Climate Hub.

Find out more about the new business roadmap framework, which has been developed in partnership with the Broadway Initiative.

The Net Zero Council aims to:

  • work to ensure sectors and companies have a pathway to net zero, including looking at the barriers and connections across sectors
  • lead a systematic review of the financing challenges and the respective roles of government, industry and the financial sector in addressing them
  • identify key challenges facing SMEs up and down the country in reducing their carbon footprints and supporting their transition with new information and advice

The research that 90% of SMEs are keen to tackle climate change comes from Sage and the International Chamber of Commerce.

The research on 85% of consumers are more likely to buy from a business with a reputation for sustainability comes from Economist Impact.

Link: One-stop-shop to help businesses save money and go green
Source: Assent Information Services