Election heavyweights step into the ring

15 April 2010
With only three weeks until the UK goes to the polls, the main party leaders are preparing to go head to head tonight in the nation’s first televised prime ministerial debate. The political gloves are well and truly off… This week the three main contenders - Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats – released their manifestos and all had something to say about procurement. Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged public procurement would in future give priority to local people, as well as promising to cut back-office costs, reduce consultancy and marketing expenditure and slash low priority spending to achieve savings of £20 billion a year by 2012-13. In response, Conservative leader David Cameron slammed Labour’s “dreadful record” of managing government purchasing, pledging to tackle defence procurement to deliver equipment on time and within budget. He also promised to pave the way for SMEs to get involved in government contracts by cutting the administration costs of bidding. Nick Clegg also hit out at defence procurement, vowing to review major projects to save £15 billion a year. He said the Lib Dems would use government procurement policy to increase green purchasing and encourage sustainability as well as promising to target IT procurement to reduce the deficit. As Peter Smith outlined this week, procurement features prominently in what all three parties aim to do if they come up trumps on 6 May. But who is best placed to deliver on spending and ease the pressure on the public purse? What do you think?
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