Department for Transport to spend a third of its procurement with SMEs


The Department for Transport has committed to spending one third of its procurement budget with small and medium-sized enterprises by 2022.

It says there will be further measures to break down the barriers for smaller firms, outlining support up to 2022, as a way to create new jobs.

The department has also awarded £700,000 in Transport Technology Research Innovation Grants (T-TRIG) to support innovative transport projects, including a universal train access ramp that would help disabled people board trains more easily across the network.

Transport minister Jo Johnson said they wanted to make it easier for small businesses to bid for contracts, and we will continue to support them over the coming years.

He said: “This year, out of 23 innovative transport projects given a share of £700,000, 14 were from small and medium-sized enterprises with fewer than 250 members of staff.”

These projects include:

• a system to encourage uptake of electric taxis by providing live information on charge points for electric private hire vehicles
• an app (Signly) that improves communication and passenger experience for people who use sign language
• developing software to improve the use of airspace and reduce commercial flight times

T-TRIG funds organisations with innovative early-stage projects, which show promising transport benefits for the UK. It has already provided a total of around £2 million of innovation funding since its launch in 2014.

Mr Johnson says the announcement bolsters the Department of Transport’s existing support for small businesses, with the department having exceeded its initial target for procurement spend with SMEs.

It also comes as part of the government’s growth agenda which seeks to maximise the positive impact of public spending on boosting the economy.

Useful links

SME Action Plan
Department for Transport