By Jonathan Davies

The government is urging the UK's small businesses to bid on central contracts, targeting £1 in every £3 spent to be with small businesses by 2020.

In 2013-14, the government spent £11.4 billion on contracts with small businesses - equivalent to 26% of central government spend.

But cabinet minister Matt Hancock said the government wants to increase that figure to a third over the next five years, meaning an extra £3bn for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock said: "This is such an amazing opportunity for the country’s diverse and innovative small businesses, and today I urge them to get stuck in. From computers to uniforms — there are so many opportunities for small businesses to work with us, and I want to see more of them providing value for money for the taxpayer and benefiting from our spending."

The move was praised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the body that represents the country's small firms. John Allan, the FSB's national chair, said: "The government has much to gain from opening up public procurement to smaller businesses and we welcome the government’s commitment to achieve this ambitious target. To meet it, the government will need to focus on robust monitoring and challenge of poor practices wherever they are found. The FSB will play its part, and will work with ministers on this important goal."