Proposed law favours UK suppliers in public procurement

A UK private member’s bill aims to ensure public buyers prioritise British suppliers “wherever possible”.

The Goods and Services of UK Origin bill, presented in the House of Commons by shadow minister for international trade Gareth Thomas, would “establish a presumption in public sector procurement in favour of purchasing goods and services from businesses based in the UK”.

Thomas said: “Ministers could and should do more to help British firms win British Government contracts. 

“After more than 10 years of this government in power, too often the best British companies are ignored when ministers give out contracts... My bill would change the landscape for British businesses across the UK and not just those in our capital city.”

The proposed bill would also require the government to publish data on how much spend is awarded to British suppliers by region and nation, and develop a Made in Britain kitemark. 

Thomas emphasised that during public procurement of pandemic supplies, “British firm after British firm offering to make personal protection equipment were ignored”, while manufacturers “struggled to get doors in Whitehall to open for them”.

In a blog post on Labour List he claimed “no substantive or substantial change to help British companies win Whitehall contracts has occurred”.

Thomas said his bill would require ministers to publish contract details by region. “A measure that would monitor whether businesses in every region are being treated fairly and, crucially, how many jobs are being created,” he said.

He told MPs: “Ministers made a series of claims that they were building up the UK supply of PPE, going so far as to claim that 70% of PPE was now from British sources. Sadly, this was not true; no such data was being kept. My bill would put that right.”

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