They commissioned independent consultancy IFF to ask bosses at companies employing more than 250 people how much they engaged with smaller firms. Whilst 67 per cent said they use SMEs frequently or often, most only awarded between 1-25 per cent of contracts to smaller businesses. One in four said they were concerned about the financial stability of small firms and others were concerned about adherence to standards and regulations. This could explain why 80 per cent said they don’t plan to increase use of smaller firms, whilst only 12 per cent said they did. Construction firm Balfour Beatty recently to spending more than ?1bn with SMEs in the UK in 2014 ? a 33 per cent increase on the previous year. Adrian Chamberlain, chief executive of Achilles, said: ?Companies like Balfour Beatty are role models in terms of recognising the innovation, flexibility and social value SMEs bring to British business. ?However, suppliers must also be prepared to do their bit in terms of raising standards, delivering value and putting themselves in the best possible position to win work.”
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