HS2’s civils contractors have doubled their total spend with SMEs – companies with 250 or fewer employees – in 2022/23 when compared to the previous financial year. Small and medium sized businesses account for over 70% of HS2’s supply chain and this year shared in the £942m spend, which is a significant increase on the £456m total spend in the previous year.

From the outset of the project, robust targets were put in place to ensure UK-based SMEs would benefit from HS2’s construction programme. HS2 contractors, through their own procurement processes, embraced the challenge and as a result, almost a billion pounds flowed into small businesses, across the country, in just one year of the civil engineering programme.

HS2’s seven construction partners (stations and civils) hit a combined average of 20% total spend with SMEs in 2022/23. Align JV and EKFB JV, both delivering the central sections of the HS2 route, exceeded the average, with respective total spends of 33% and 26%.

EKFB JV’s approach to supplier diversity was commended by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply back in 2020, when it received the ‘Best Initiative to Build a Diverse Supply Base’ award.