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New marketplace for government contracts to launch

A new online marketplace for public sector contracts is just one of the initiatives the Government is to launch in order to make it easier and fairer for SMEs to do business in the UK.

The Crown Marketplace will be an online platform where businesses can find out about public sector contracts for a wide range of goods and services. It will be modeled on the existing Digital Marketplace, where public sector organisations currently buy cloud products and services.


The launch of this new platform was announced in a policy paper on competition drawn up by HM Treasury and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).


The paper says the Crown Marketplace will "make it easier for businesses to supply government with goods and services". Its stated aim is to enable more businesses to supply the public sector. Central government procurement spend is about £44 billion per annum.


The Digital Marketplace has already been good news for SME suppliers. Since 2012, public sector organisations have spent £836m through the platform; SMEs received 60% of the sales by volume and 50% by value.


The paper says that the Digital Marketplace has "reduced barriers to the public sector market by applying user-centred principles to the design of procurements and contracts … The public sector now has access to a greater number of new and innovative suppliers … many of whom have never had the opportunity to work with government before."


The paper also announced a number of other initiatives including new consumer-style rights for small businesses buying energy and water that promise to protect them from mis-selling and make switching easier.

In addition, the British Business Bank's funding is to be maintained so that it can facilitate at least £10 billion of finance to small businesses.

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