12 April 2010 | Helen Gilbert
The UK Labour party has pledged public procurement will in future give priority to local people as it moves to tackle immigration.
The vow was made in the party’s 2010 general election manifesto, unveiled this morning by Gordon Brown at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, Birmingham.
The Prime Minister promised the current government would tighten the criteria of its Australian-style points based immigration system to “ensure the economy gets the migrants it needs, but no more”.
The manifesto did not detail how the procurement process would change. It simply said: “There will be no unskilled migration from outside the EU. Skilled jobs are now advertised here first for four weeks with more vacancies going to local workers, and public procurement will in future give priority to local people.”
The party also pledged that Labour would rebuild the economy and more than halve the deficit by 2014 through “economic growth, fair taxes and cuts to lower-priority spending”.
“We will overhaul how government works: cutting back-office and property running costs; abolishing unnecessary arms-length bodies; sharply reducing spending on consultancy and marketing; and cutting lower-priority spend,” the manifesto stated.
“We have already shown in budget 2010 how these steps will help us to achieve savings of £20 billion a year by 2012-13, on top of the £15 billion savings that are being delivered this year.”
Elsewhere, acute cost pressures in long-term defence projects would be addressed by “reforming defence procurement, making further reductions in civilian staff, and cutting lower-priority spending on headquarter costs, travel and consultancy,” the manifesto said.
The police service would also receive funding to help it maintain current numbers of police and community support officers. “To protect the front line we are making tough choices elsewhere: continuing to cut bureaucracy and inefficiency in procurement, IT and overtime,” the election paper stated.
In February, a review called for the police service in England and Wales to use more national contracts to save millions of pounds over the next four years.
The High level working group report on police value for money, published by a group of police authorities, said increased collaboration would help meet the £545 million savings target set out in last year’s white paper, Protecting the public: Supporting the police to succeed.