The government has increased its direct spend with SMEs, according to the latest Treasury report.

Making government business more accessible to SMEs: Two Years On’ shows that the government’s direct spend with SMEs has gone up from 6.5% in 2009/10 to 10.5% in 2012/13, and also highlights an increase in the amount of contract work being awarded to SMEs (some £4 billion) from some of the government’s largest suppliers.

John Thompson, chief executive of the Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors, has largely welcomed the findings. “These figures are encouraging and show that SMEs in our sector are beginning to win more work through the supply chain process,” he said.

“However, what this report does not highlight is the issue of late payments and how many SMEs are still struggling to get paid on time. In the next phase of this scheme I would like to see more emphasis on formalising better payment terms for SMEs, in addition to greater access to government contracts. Once this is addressed I am sure the numbers of SMEs looking to take part will increase further.”