By Daniel Hunter

New figures show that the government's aspiration for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) contracts is on track.

The figures show the government is on track to deliver its aspiration of awarding 25% of central government business to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by 2015, directly and through the supply chain.

Helping smaller suppliers compete for public sector business helps boost economic growth. Over the past year the government has continued its focus to ensure SMEs are at the forefront of how we buy goods and services.

All departments have developed plans for making their contributions to the 25% aspiration, and as part of this acceleration, every department now has an appointed SME minister to ensure SME-friendly procurement practices are commonplace.

This has already resulted in spend steadily increasing. In 2009 to 2010, just 6.5% of central government’s direct procurement spend went to SMEs.

New figures published today in the ‘Making government business more accessible to SMEs: 2 Years On’ progress report show that direct SME spend increased from £3 billion in 2009 to 2010 to £4.5 billion (10.5%) in 2012 to 2013.

In addition, new figures provided by major government suppliers indicate that SMEs have in fact benefited from a further £4 billion (9.4%) in indirect spend through the supply chain for 2012 to 2013.

MOD accounts for a significant proportion of central government spend - without MOD the data shows total direct spend with SMEs would stand at 15% and total indirect spend would be 8.9%.

There is still more to do in achieving the 25% aspiration, but with 2 years to go, the initiatives that the government has put in place will ensure we continue to drive progress.

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