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Autumn Statement Procurement Top Tips

Autumn Statement

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s recent Autumn Statement offered new routes to leveraging business growth. Here, BiP Solutions journalist Julie Shennan gives 5 top tips for procurement actions to optimise your Autumn Statement opportunities.

With £23 billion of additional government spending pledged in Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s recent Autumn Statement via the new National Productivity Investment Fund, fresh pipelines of work have been outlined in areas such as infrastructure, housing, transport, defence, exports, R&D, oil and gas, communications and media.

Whatever your business sector, the Autumn Statement contains information that you can leverage to cut costs and open up new business opportunities. Here are 5 top tips for post-Autumn Statement good procurement practice.

1. Browse Business Breaks

Every year the Chancellor of the Exchequer gives business financial breaks via the likes of Corporation Tax cuts and business rates relief. These breaks often come with caveats that make them applicable to some businesses but not others; however, it is worth checking if your business qualifies so you can adjust your budget.

Also worth noting is that with each business break there usually comes a time frame for its implementation or a time limit on its duration. For example, in his Autumn Statement 2016 Mr Hammond pledged to cut Corporation Tax to 17% by 2020, suggesting that it may drop incrementally over the next few years.

2. Find Funding

Likewise, the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement often announces funding opportunities for UK business growth, to stimulate things like innovation, local economies and overseas trade. This year the Chancellor pledged £400 million through the British Business Bank to invest in innovative small businesses with potential for growth.

Now that these funding opportunities have been announced, businesses that qualify and are interested should waste no time in contacting the British Business Bank to start their application. Fortune favours the brave, and awarding bodies will not knock on doors offering funding.

3. Utilise U-Turns

Just as suppliers should be diligent in checking the recent Autumn Statement for relevant new announcements, they should also check it for any U-turns on business breaks or funding pledged in previous years.

Each year brings new circumstances and challenges that can force policy U-turns, not least when there has been a change of government. Yet one supplier’s curse is often another supplier’s blessing as the scrapping of relief or funding in one area can lead to that assistance being rechanneled into another.

4. Pursue Pipelines

Arguably the most valuable business information in this year’s Autumn Statement is to be found in the new pipelines of work announced by the Chancellor. These pipelines vary from the rather open ‘£800 million to the Scottish Government for infrastructure projects’ to the more specific ‘£7.6 million for urgent and essential repairs to Wentworth Woodhouse heritage house in South Yorkshire’.

Now that the Autumn Statement has been announced, suppliers should research it for pipelines within their sectors and geographical areas of operation, bearing in mind that some sector pipelines – such as those in construction – have a trickle-down effect into others. For instance, a pipeline for building repairs might also bring security services opportunities to guard the building while the repairs are made.

After identifying a potential future pipeline of work, suppliers should then scan the procurement horizon for this work being put out to tender. This can be done by using a contracts finder service, checking national or local authority contract portals, monitoring news stories, or attending council meetings and networking events.

For best practice guidance on finding contracts, read The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts, Chapter 4.

5. Contact Contractors

Every now and then an Autumn Statement or Budget goes one step further, not only outlining new pipelines of work but also announcing the Tier 1 contractors who will be running them. For instance, in his Autumn Statement 2016 the Chancellor detailed that £850,000 would be awarded to a Royal Society of the Arts project to promote cultural education in schools. Once the Tier 1 contractor’s name is divulged then suppliers should strike up pre-tender conversations, to establish the scope of sub-contracts available.

Best practice guidance on pre-tender networking can be found in The Ultimate Guide to Winning Government Contracts, Chapter 9.

For more information on government opportunities, visit the BiP Solutions Resources page.

Autumn Statement Industry Highlights

Autumn Statement Industry Highlights

On 23 November, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond announced the Government’s 2016 Autumn Statement, pledging £23 billion of additional spending via the new National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

Among the sectors receiving fresh investment are infrastructure, housing, transport, exports, defence and security, R&D, oil and gas, communications, culture and media.

Read on to discover what public sector pipelines of work await your industry sector.

Infrastructure

  • National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to provide £23 billion of additional spending, ensuring the UK’s economy is fit for the future.
  • National Productivity Investment Fund will provide major additional spending in areas that are key to boosting productivity: transport, digital communications, research and development (R&D), and housing.
  • An increase of over £800 million to the Scottish Government for infrastructure projects.
  • An increase of over £400 million to the Welsh Government for infrastructure projects.
  • An increase of over £250 million to the Northern Ireland Executive for infrastructure projects.

Housing

  • £2.3 billion for a new Housing Infrastructure Fund for projects such as roads and water connections that will support the construction of up to 100,000 new homes in the areas where they are needed most.
  • £1.4 billion to provide 40,000 new affordable homes, including some for shared ownership and some for affordable rent.
  • £1.7 billion to speed up the construction of new homes on public sector land.

Transport

As part of the National Productivity Investment Fund, transport infrastructure will include:

  • £1.1 billion to reduce congestion and upgrade local roads and public transport
  • £220 million to tackle road safety and congestion on Highways England roads
  • £27 million to develop an expressway connecting Oxford and Cambridge
  • £450 million will also be spent on trialling railway digital signalling technology which will expand capacity and improve reliability

£390 million investment in future transport technology including driverless cars, renewable fuels and energy efficient transport. This will include:

  • £100 million investment in testing infrastructure for driverless cars
  • £150 million to provide at least 550 new electric and hydrogen buses and to support taxis to become zero emission
  • £80 million to install more charge-points for ultra-low emission vehicles
  • A two-year 100% first year allowance for companies who install electric charge-points, coming into effect immediately‎. This allows companies to deduct the cost of the charge-point from their pre-tax profits in that year

Exports

  • Doubling UK Export Finance capacity.

Defence & Security

  • Protecting the defence budget (no reduction in Budget 2016 pledge).
  • Protecting the overseas aid budget (no reduction in Budget 2016 pledge).
  • Over £102 million of LIBOR banking fines to support Armed Forces and Emergency Services charities and other related good causes: over the next 4 years support will go to more than 100 projects supporting Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans; Emergency Service personnel; children’s hospitals, air ambulances and emergency responders; and museums and memorials.

Research & Development

  • £2 billion more per year in research and development (R&D) funding by 2020-21.
  • Increase in R&D funding for universities and businesses with R&D for areas like robotics, artificial intelligence and industrial biotechnology.

Oil & Gas

  • Carbon Price Support capped until 2020.
  • Business rates reduction package worth £6.7 billion.

Communications

  • £1 billion to invest in full-fibre broadband and trialling 5G networks.
  • Investment to support the private sector to roll out more full-fibre broadband by 2020-21.
  • Funding will also support trials of 5G mobile communications.
  • From April 2017, the Government will also provide a new 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure for a 5-year period.

Culture

  • Over £10 million to support culture and heritage projects across the UK:
  • £7.6 million will cover urgent and essential repairs to Wentworth Woodhouse heritage house in South Yorkshire
  • £850,000 for a Royal Society of the Arts pilot to promote cultural education in schools
  • £1.6 million to help complete Studio 144, an arts complex in Southampton, including an auditorium, studio, and gallery
  • £1 million towards the development of a new creative media centre in Plymouth
  • New museums and galleries tax relief will be expanded to include permanent exhibitions, set at 20% for non-touring exhibitions and 25% for touring exhibitions. The relief will be capped at £500,000 of qualifying expenditure per exhibition.

For more information on government spending plans, keep reading the BiP Solutions blog.

EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business

EU Referendum

Rely on facts not feelings

Are you ready to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June? The latest YouGov poll showed significant support for both sides with 13% of people still undecided.

Professionals across the country are wondering what the vote will mean for their businesses, jobs and bank balances and there is no shortage of opinions in the newspapers and on TV.

Unfortunately, these tend to be biased towards one side or another which is why the UK’s leading procurement service provider, BiP Solutions, is launching its free White Paper, EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business.

The White Paper examines the referendum and its potential implications for UK exports, trade arrangements, business finance, procurement legislation and jobs – all of which will affect the country’s livelihood.

Here’s a sneak peek at the first two chapters of EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business – covering Exports and Trade Agreements.

At the forefront of the referendum debate is the issue of exports. Brexit leaders argue that the EU membership fees paid by the UK outweigh the UK gains from exports to the European Economic Area (EEA). However, HM Treasury’s latest European Union Finances statistics appear to contradict this argument.

These figures show that in 2015 EU membership cost the UK £8.4bn (net sum). This cost though was outweighed by the value of UK exports to the EEA in 2015, which reached £133.9bn (HMRC UK Overseas Trade Statistics December 2015).

This trend is, however, not reflective of the wider UK export picture; as the latest (February 2016) Office of National Statistics UK Trade Statistical Bulletin shows, between November 2015 and February 2016, UK exports to non-EEA countries totalled more than those to EEA countries (£36bn compared to £33bn).

This highlights the opportunity for greater UK trade beyond the European Union, and shows the appeal of a Brexit in which the UK could form autonomous international trade partnerships, without having to negotiate with other EU members.

Another pro-Brexit argument is that, should it leave the EU, the UK could re-negotiate a deal that allowed it to trade with the EEA without having to adhere to the EU Public Contracts Regulations, which are said to cost UK businesses £33.3bn annually to implement.

However, pro-EU campaigners highlight current European law stipulates that to benefit from European Single Market trade rates countries must adhere to EU regulations.

This means that should the UK cease to do so, it would have to pay more to trade with EEA countries. Establishment of alternative trade partnerships is a challenge that could create economic instability; however, it could also create the opportunity to forge new markets and procurement practices.

Read more about the economic implications of the EU referendum, with EU Referendum: The Ins and Outs for Business.

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