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 Full text 
Thursday, 4 October 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

Public procurement strategy package (debate)

  Tim Aker, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Mr President, there needs to be a new way to look at procurement to make sure taxpayers’ money stays within the local area, creating jobs and ensuring local investment. Traditional rules meant big business swooped in and took huge local government contracts. The legal complications and expense in placing tender bids has squeezed out local competition. In my own borough of Thurrock in South Essex, residents were surprised to see the new gas maintenance provider had its head office in Liverpool. It’s as if there are no good quality local providers anymore, and big businesses consume all and leave nothing in their wake.

Procurement rules need to change to stop this, and Preston Council is showing just how to do it. It is prioritising contracts based on localism and keeping money in the local economy. Research from the Federation of Small Businesses has shown that, for every pound spent with a small or medium sized firm, 63 pence is respent locally – that drops to 40 pence or less with a large or multinational company.

Before Preston changed the way it looked at procurement, only one pound in twenty stayed in Preston. Surely we would be better off with local solutions to contracts and tendering wherever possible. From my own experience as a councillor, we would be better off with local maintenance contracts: people who live in the same community they look after making repairs.

The government may well say that austerity is over, but there are choppy waters ahead. Councils can prepare for this now by thinking differently about procurement, keeping money local in dividing up contracts to ensure money stays with local firms, and small businesses can help prepare for uncertain times ahead.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

Last updated: 9 January 2019Legal notice