§ Mr. Barry Field
To ask the Secretary of State for the Employment if he will list the measures he has taken to encourage Government Departments to use small businesses.
§ Mr. Cope
This Department has taken a number of steps to encourage Government Departments to buy from small businesses, through meetings at ministerial level and with senior purchasing officials. In addition, the Department has decided to fund the recruitment of a private sector secondee to work in the central unit on purchasing to promote the opportunities available.
The Department has also taken action to assist and encourage small businesses to obtain Government contracts, primarily by improving the quality of information made available to them. We publish a booklet, "Tendering for Government Contracts", which gives guidance on what Government Departments seek to buy and the names and addresses of the relevant contacts. Departments, including the Ministry of Defence and this Department, also publish booklets providing more specific information on the purchasing opportunities within their Departments.