To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a mandatory requirement that all procurement by his Department be sourced from small and medium sized British businesses.
Defra adheres to the requirements set out in the Public Contract Regulations (PCR) 2015, which look to set out and ensure that a fair and inclusive supply base exists where all have an equal opportunity to bid. The PCR enable buyers to run procurements faster, with less red tape and with a greater focus on getting the right supplier and best tender in accordance with sound commercial practice. These principles apply to above threshold requirements but equally apply to below threshold ensuring sound commercial practice is maintained:
Defra adheres to and supports the initiatives set out in Procurement Policy Note 03/15, which sets out the need to make public procurements more accessible to small and medium enterprises (SMEs): www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0315-reforms-to-make-public-procurement-more-accessible-to-smes.
Defra already recognises the important role of SMEs in delivering UK economic growth and prosperity. The Government has remained committed to supporting the SME agenda and Defra supports this. We encourage SMEs to bid for departmental business and we monitor the level of business SMEs receive from us directly (by winning contracts) or indirectly (by winning contracts with prime contractors or further down supply chains). In support of this commitment, Defra has published its Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Commercial Plan:
We regularly review our approach and if a barrier is identified we look to remove it.