The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has announced that government contracts will now be advertised for free on the government’s supply2 website. Previously businesses would have to pay an annual subscription fee of £180 before they could access these lower-value public sector contracts, which can be worth up to £100,000. The government has said that the decision to remove the subscription fee is part of a plan to advertise all of its contracting opportunities on one free website by the end of 2010.

Shriti Vadera, business minister said of this decision, “Small businesses are facing significant pressure in this downturn and new contracts are essential for their return to growth. “We want to support small businesses by making it easier to access the thousands of government procurement opportunities that are directly relevant to them.”

Ian Pearson, economic secretary to the Treasury, also commented on this new development “Small and medium sized businesses are a crucial part of the UK economy and in these challenging times it is essential that we support them in as many ways as possible. By introducing a free to use national search service we are helping to create a level playing field on which small to medium enterprises (SMEs) can compete with their larger counterparts. This will realise benefits for SMEs, the economy as a whole, and help drive further innovation in public services.”

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