Lordy, lordy, I'm getting crosser by the second.
You'd think, wouldn't you, what with the Freedom of Information Act, the desire for open government (huh!), and the stated aim of helping small businesses stay in business during this painful financial slough of despond, that access to information about government grants and tendering opportunities would be freely available to all, not on a pay per view basis like some seedy porn channel in a one night stay hotel chain.
Whether you are a third sector organisation with charitable aims of alleviating poverty, or simply a micro company doing everything you can to provide a product or service, unless you can come up with the dosh, you cannot find out what opportunities exist that you may be eminently able to exploit/deliver beautifully to a client's satisfaction. Some portals say that you can register for free (again huh!), but in fact give you a peek into limited possibilities and then pull out the stops to rake in your cash (from a couple of hundred quid up to nearly a thousand) for access to the fuller picture.
At any time I think this would be a serious failure to ensure equal access to public sector contracts and grants, would wonder if it was in fact legal, would hate the fact that some middleman was given a contract to control access to this information on behalf of the public sector by provison of some halting, circuitous, irritating portal, but now? Now you can add immoral, spiteful, stupid and shortsighted to the charges.
Next thing we'll have to pay some company somewhere enough to make them profits just for supplying us with water....
Anyone for a gallon of air? Going cheap.