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30 September 2012 | Anna Reynolds
Almost 50,000 jobs could be created in Wales if the public sector followed the Scottish and UK approach to local sourcing, according to the leader of Plaid Cymru.
Speaking at a plenary debate at the Senedd, Leanne Wood called on the Welsh government to adopt a buy-local policy to revive the economy. “Germany sources 98.9 per cent of its public sector contracts domestically – and we wonder why they have weathered the storm,” said Wood.
“The UK achieves a self-procurement rate of 97 per cent. Yet in Wales, half of the value of our procurement budget is lost through leakage. So shouldn’t we have a goal of matching the Scottish rate of 75 per cent of internal procurement by the time of the next Assembly election?”
Wood said if the Scottish level of ‘self-procurement’ was achieved in Wales, 48,000 jobs could be created, which would reduce unemployment by 40 per cent.
She believes legislation is needed and said the only way to reform procurement is through passing a ‘Welsh Procurement Reform Act’.
Wood said the first step is to adopt the recommendations laid out in John McClelland's review into Welsh public procurement, which was commissioned by the country’s government earlier this year.
She concluded: “We [Wales] are constrained by our limited powers, but that just means we have to be more imaginative. In an age of enforced austerity, economists have begun to talk about the role of unconventional fiscal policy – not cutting taxes or raising spending – but changing the composition of public spending as a catalyst for growth.”