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Public sector e-biz push threatens small firms

20,000 London jobs on the line, Newham claims

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Thousands of small firms may miss out on valuable contracts by attempts to make the public sector tender process more efficient, new research claims.

Findings from an assessment by the London Borough of Newham into the impact of the National e-Procurement Project suggest up to 4,000 smaller suppliers in the Capital risk losing business by failure to comply with councils' e-trading requirements.

Launched in 2002, the project aims to streamline the processes for local authority purchasing of good and services by moving much of it online.

But the research says companies would "inevitably be more marginalized as councils begin to aggregate demand and reduce the number of suppliers".

At least 20,000 jobs, it claims, are on the line in 'vulnerable' firms based in deprived areas of London.

The final report, encompassing 12 London boroughs, will be officially launched on 13 September at a meeting attended by Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham and former e-commerce minister.

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