(c) USQ Australia
As I read the Insider headline, today:
‘Almost 80% of Scots public sector contract awards go to SMEs’
I wondered, and you won’t be surprised to hear it, how this compared with the situation in UK/England. Scotland/UK comparisons are, of course, disapproved of as ‘whitabootery’ by some Unionists like Brian Monteith at the Scotsman, but popular when they suit, at BBC Scotland. Nearly always, my searches find that something is better here than there and it looks that way on this issue too.
I was only able to make a direct comparison on the spend as opposed to the number of firms getting the work.
From Insider today:
‘Nicola Sturgeon reveals eight out of ten public sector contracts go to SMEs as a result of Scottish Government legislation as she meets new Scots policy chair Andrew McRae at FSB’s spring reception. And she also told the gathering at the Fruitmarket Gallery how nearly eight out of ten public sector contracts in Scotland are now awarded to small and medium businesses as a result of Scottish Government legislation.’
The situation in England, according to this FSB, August 2017, report (page 5), is:
‘Each year the UK public sector spends over £200 billion on procuring goods and services from third parties, but far too little of this is with small firms. Over the last 12 months, it is estimated that SMEs won just 19 per cent of directly awarded public sector contracts by value.’
Why does it matter that SMEs should be prominent in public-sector work? From the same report (page 5):
‘When small firms aren’t used effectively by Government, it is the economy as a whole which suffers. This is because small businesses are overwhelmingly the route by which people enter work from unemployment and because, as is widely recognised, small businesses are the challengers to incumbents and critical agents in the ‘gale of creative destruction’. Small businesses also create greater competition for public contracts, leading to better value for money and efficiencies for contracting authorities.’
I’ll leave readers to reflect on, and to comment on, gales of creative destruction. I guess we are more familiar with gales up here?
Footnote: When I search for a graphic relating to ‘gales of creative destruction’, one of the first featured Margaret Thatcher. I though about it, then destroyed the thought, with little creativity required.