Prime minister Theresa May will seek to replicate existing EU free trade agreements ©PA Images
Prime minister Theresa May will seek to replicate existing EU free trade agreements ©PA Images

Tories will not do deals with late payers

18 May 2017

The Conservative Party has said it would not allow late payers to bid for government contracts if it is re-elected. 

In their manifesto, the party said it would use the government’s buying power to ensure large contractors complied with the Prompt Payment Code on both government and non-government contracts. “If they do not do so, they will lose the right to bid for government contracts”, the manifesto said.

The commitment builds on the party’s existing policy on late payments. As part of their plan to improve the business environment for SMEs, the Conservatives also re-affirmed their plan to make a third of government purchases with SMEs.

Like much of the party’s manifesto, released today, the commitment echoes existing policy. The main committments include stability through the Brexit deal, changes to social care and increased economic equality. Many of its policy proposals on business and the economy call for a continuation of prime minister Theresa May’s industrial strategy, outlined in January.

On leaving the EU, the Conservatives said they would ensure immediate stability by applying for new concessions on tariffs and quotas with the World Trade Organisation. These new trade schedules would be in alignment with the concessions already receives as an EU member, the manifesto said. “We will seek to replicate all existing EU free trade agreements and support the ratification of trade agreements entered into during our EU membership.”

Investment in key infrastructure projects would be maintained, including HS2, the Heathrow expansion and the Northern Powerhouse. The Conservatives made new commitments on the digital infrastructure, promising 19 out of 20 premises would have superfast broadband by the end of they year and that every home and business would have access by 2020. There was also a renewed commitment to roll out next-generation 5G mobile internet.

Smart infrastructure also featured in the manifesto, including the use of technology to improve railways and roads and smart grids to increase the efficiency of electrical infrastructure. “We will step up our programme of support for businesses developing these new technologies, creating a better environment for them to be tested in the UK,” the document said.

There was no mention of a diesel scrappage scheme. Also absent was any mention of the the low-emission zones included in the air quality plan the party was forced to publish earlier this month. The manifesto did say they wanted nearly every car to be zero-emission by 2050, pledging £600m to support this, and said they would invest in low-emission buses.

The Conservatives also said they would review the Modern Slavery Act and push the anti-slavery agenda in the UN elsewhere internationally.

Yesterday in their manifesto the Liberal Democrats announced plans to use government procurement as a tool to develop local communities, while the Labour manifesto pledged to support the British steel industry.

The general election will take place on 8 June.

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