Progressive Futures

Contracts not hand-outs

27 January 2014

The case for a UK Small Business Administration to drive growth and innovation

Lord Andrew Adonis

A report by the Adonis Growth Review

Andrew Adonis has today published a Policy Network paper calling for government to radically improve its own commercial relationship with small businesses.

In his paper, entitled Contracts not hand-outs, Adonis recommends that a new Small Business Administration (SBA) should promote state contracting with smaller firms, as does the SBA in the US. He argues that the US and Germany – two of the UK’s strongest competitors – are far ahead of the UK in the extent to which they use government procurement and R&D to scale-up successful small firms.

The idea has been backed by the Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna MP, who has said that the next Labour government will create a Small Business Administration to help Britain grow its way out of the cost of living crisis.

Lord Adonis, transport secretary in the last Labour government, is leading a national growth review for the Labour Party. The Adonis Growth Review, which is supported by Policy Network and IPPR, is due to publish its final report later this year.

Speaking at the Federation of Small Businesses Annual Policy Conference today, Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said:

In order for Britain to grow its way out of the cost of living crisis and build a balanced recovery built to last we need to do all we can to help our small businesses grow, create new jobs and meet their aspirations. We need government to be a better servant – and customer – of our small businesses and to make sure that entrepreneurs’ voices are heard at the top table. A UK Small Business Administration is necessary to realising this ambition.
Based on the best examples from around the world, a UK Small Business Administration would create a step change in the opportunities for small businesses from government procurement and improve the quality of support available, operating alongside a proper British Investment Bank and a network of regional banks to ensure that start-ups and established firms can access the finance they need.

This paper was discussed in a launch article by Andrew Adonis in CityAm.


Photo credit: Pressmaster /