MONMOUTHSHIRE council is the top local authority in England and Wales for spending directly with small businesses, according to a report.

Figures published by the Centre for Entrepreneurs and Spend Network in the report ‘Spend Small: The Local Authority Spend Index’ show the authority spent 26.6 per cent of its procurement budget with small businesses in the last three years.

The authority paid out £44,087,659 of its £175 million budget on small firms.

Wye Media, a printing company based in Monmouth, is one of the businesses which has benefitted from this.

Chris McGowan, managing director at the firm, said: “We have done dribs and drabs for the council.

“The last thing we did was an A4 programme showcasing all their training courses for the college campuses this year and we’ve also produced roller banners.

“Of course, anything to prevent buying from the other side of the county is obviously a great help to small businesses. We are very grateful for the work that does come our way.

“It is much more cost effective to buy locally to produce a low carbon footprint.”

Matt Smith, director of Centre for Entrepreneurs, said: “Our report shows that this level of procurement from smaller firms only occurs in local authorities when it is a deliberate policy, driven from within.

Monmouthshire County Council has cleared the way for small firms to step up and work with them, whilst taking their business to the next level and creating more jobs and opportunity. It’s great news for the Monmouthshire economy and should be congratulated.”

The new research by the Centre for Entrepreneurs think tank and Spend Network, an open data company, suggests council procurement from the small business community is a fundamental step towards achieving local economic growth.

The report says 20 large companies earned £9.9 billion from English and Welsh councils in three years, while 78,128 small firms shared an £11.1bn pot.