VICTORIA PRENTIS MP ASKS QUESTION IN DEFENCE SPENDING DEBATE

The below account is taken from the official House of Commons Hansard for 12 September 2016:

Victoria Prentis (Con) (Banbury): What steps he is taking to increase the level of defence spending with small firms. (Question also put by Alberto Costa MP)

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Defence (Harriett Baldwin): Small businesses are crucial for growth and innovation in this country, and we want them to take an increasing share of our growing defence budget. We are committed to achieving 25% of our procurement spend being with small and medium-sized enterprises by 2020. That target is 10% higher than the one set during the last Parliament.

Victoria Prentis: May I say how nice it is to see my hon. Friend in her place? May I drill down a little and ask her what steps she can take to ensure that the Ministry of Defence’s largest customers use small firms to deliver their contracts?

Harriett Baldwin: My hon. Friend is absolutely right that it is essential that we work on that not only in our direct defence procurement process but with our supply chains. I am delighted to be able to let the House know that the supply chain advocate network and the supply chain champions, which my predecessor announced, are well under way, and that last year the Ministry of Defence was able to have direct spend with almost 5,000 different companies.