Plans from Nottingham City Council to award money to small and medium-sized businesses have been announced despite debts of almost £800m.

The scheme, which comes as part of the council’s Procurement Strategy which aims to give small businesses a better of chance of competing with larger companies, is to be launched in April.

City Council deputy leader, Councillor Graham Chapman said: “At a time when the Council’s budget is under huge pressure from government cuts, it’s vital that we have an effective strategy to get the best possible value from the contracts we award.

“We want to ensure that the Council uses its purchasing power to support the local economy.”

Nottingham City Council has debts reaching several hundred million pounds this year.

The council currently finds itself £791m in debt and are expected to borrow a further £252m this year alone.

A total of 567 contracts have been signed with businesses in the last year, which has led to a £288m boost in the economy, according to the council.

All firms involved in the council’s most recent deals will be encouraged to offer entry-level job opportunities for disadvantaged areas within Nottingham.