Businesses have received a £8m boost thanks to an online initiative launched by Surrey County Council last year.

The scheme called BuildSurrey helps small construction firms bid for council contracts.

More than 700 firms have registered so far and council deputy leader Peter Martin believes many more will follow.

He said: “BuildSurrey is about helping our local businesses, and therefore our local economy, to thrive. In one year of operation, the [scheme] has clearly done that and I have no doubt it will go from strength to strength.”

Surrey County Council has pledged to give 60 per cent of its spending on goods and services to local businesses with BuildSurrey a vital part of this aim.

Businesses wanting to get involved are invited to Epsom Downs racecourse on Tuesday, March 18, from 8am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm.

Information will also be available about a forthcoming apprenticeship programme.