LGP News - Council procurement and the local economy
|Council procurement and the local economy|
|Wed, Jun 27, 2007|
Green Party Councillor Matt Follett (Castle Ward) put the following question to today's full Council meeting:
"Does the Leader of the Council / relevant Cabinet Lead feel that more could be done to use Council procurement to encourage sustainable local businesses and jobs?".
In reply Councillor Kitterick listed three ways in which the procurement process could be used for this purpose. He added that the most important of these (using the tendering process for new supply contracts) could not be used because the Council was disbarred by EU competition rules from favouring local suppliers in this way (1).
In his supplementary, Councillor Follett referred to a recent news report that Gordon Brown had put pressure on Tony Blair to oppose President Sarkozy's attempts to water down the EU's commitment to rigid free-market ideology. (2)
"When it comes to a choice between market forces and a sustainable local economy," he said, "it seems to be a case of 'Here comes the new boss, same as the old boss - if not more so!'"
(1) All Councils in the UK are required by law to comply with the EU Public Procurement Directives for the advertising and the award of Contracts.
(2) "Gordon Brown dramatically intervened in a crucial European summit yesterday to overrule the prime minister in his last week in office and demand that Britain challenge a French move to dilute Europe's commitment to a free market." (Guardian, June 23)
"The new French president said the treaty should protect workers, reject cut-throat competition and turn its back fully on US-style free-market economics. "The word 'protection' is no longer taboo," he said. All of which had Tony Blair and Gordon Brown (not to mention the European commission itself) fuming. The only salvation for Europe, they argue, is to embrace fully open competition, deregulation and flexible labour markets."
(Larry Elliott, Guardian, June 25)
(3) To find out more about the danger to local democracy posed by the EU's aggressively free-market policies, see http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=6611.
(4) EU anti-environmental free-market policies were drastically strengthened in the 2000 Lisbon Strategy, which was opposed by the Green Group.
"The European Parliament.....is concerned about the de facto subordination of the EU internal Lisbon competitiveness strategy to the EU's external competitiveness goals as outlined in the Commission communication 'Global Europe Competing in the World'; warns against an EU competitiveness policy which is exclusively geared to the global transaction needs of EU-based transnational companies, to the detriment of the social interests of European workers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which need a cautious approach to global competition; warns against the envisaged international regulatory cooperation, which will give transnational companies and third states a sort of right to intervene in EU legislation concerning Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade (NTBs), which, according to the WTO definition, also include important parts of social, environmental and consumer rights and future law-making...." part of a Greens/EFA motion for a resolution at the EU Spring Council 2007 in relation to the Lisbon Strategy"