Speaking to potential future Government suppliers Mr Maude reemphasised the importance of using the £60 billion Whitehall spends on procurement, and the £230 billion spent by the whole public sector, to support UK growth.
He highlighted that while the UK awards 3 per cent of public procurement by value to foreign suppliers, Germany awards just 1.9 per cent and France only 1.5 per cent. And on average procurement is more than twice as expensive in Britain as in France.
Mr Maude warned against the over-interpretation of EU law which has resulted in a bias against British based firms. He promised that the Government will 'continue to strip away the bureaucracy that makes the costs of simply putting together a bid for public sector work often eye-watering and prohibitively steep'. And committed that in future major procurements should only take place after speaking informally to potential suppliers.
The Government are taking action to streamline the bidding process which will remove the barriers that stop SMEs, the voluntary and community sector and social enterprise organisations from participating in the public sector marketplace. These include:
- Committing to getting all but the most complex procurement turnarounds to within 120 working days - a 40 per cent reduction.
- Setting a presumption against the use of the clunky and protracted competitive dialogue process which slows things up unnecessarily.
- Negotiating with the European Commission for a radical simplification of the public procurement Directives to reduce costs for business and for procurers.
Francis Maude said:
'I'm delighted to announce today that we build on our commitment earlier this year to publish forward looking pipelines for public sector construction projects and the UK's wider infrastructure investment programme.
'This new data gives clear visibility of the significant level of contracting opportunities worth a potential £50billion or more. This advance warning will give firms the confidence to invest in plant, machinery and people. And that will help create a stronger economy - and to create more jobs.'