8 March 2010 | Helen Gilbert
Public sector purchasers have been urged to plan ahead and be wiser about the services they need to support the British manufacturing industry and help rebuild the economy.
Manufacturers’ body the EEF made the recommendation in its manifesto Back at the Crossroads, which called on the next UK government to have a more “focused and consistent” public sector procurement policy.
EEF argued that public buyers should give manufacturers information on what the government’s demand is going to be, as well as generate confidence that there will be future work.
Jeegar Kakkad, senior economist at the EEF, told SM that, historically, certain sectors have not had the opportunity to look ahead in terms of planning. He cited the rail and nuclear industries as examples, and said that, over the past 10 years, there had been little idea about how much rolling stock needed to be purchased.
In particular, uncertainty around nuclear technology and whether it would become part of the UK’s energy supply mix meant the manufacturing industry was not able to commit to having the correct capability, he said. Kakkad called on central government departments, the NHS and councils to identify what they will need and when at an early stage.