Farms and SMEs “losing out” as over half of Welsh councils’ cash for goods leaves Wales
More than half of all cash spent by Welsh local authorities on goods and services in 2015/16 went to firms outside Wales, according to new data obtained by Welsh Conservatives.
Paul Davies AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Rural Affairs, said that farms and small businesses across Wales were “losing out” because Welsh Government had failed to reform public sector procurement.
His comments coincide with the first day of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Llanelwedd, Powys.
Responding to an Assembly Question submitted by Welsh Conservatives, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford AM, revealed that in 2015/16 £1,502,898,932 was spent on the procurement of goods and services by Wales’ 22 councils.
Of this total spend, just £750,569,905 (49.94%) went to Welsh firms. In the local authority area of Powys, only 29p for every £1 spent goes to local firms.
Launched in September, the Welsh Labour Government’s Programme for Government includes a pledge to ‘continue to improve our procurement policy to bring economic, social and community benefits to Wales’.
Its ‘Prosperity for All’ strategy echoes this stating the government’s intention ‘to use the spending power of […] public service procurement to benefit Welsh-based businesses.’
Commenting on the data, Paul Davies AM said:
“These figures are frustrating and point to a Welsh Government which continues to fail in its reform of public sector procurement practices.
“With more than half of local authority spend on goods and services going across the border, it’s Welsh farms and small businesses who are losing out.
“The Welsh public sector spends over £5.5 billion on external goods and services annually. The more Welsh businesses can take advantage of this money the better it is for the growth of our economy, which continues to stagnate.
“The only way Welsh Government can ensure that public sector bodies buy more locally, where possible, is to bring forward a procurement bill which provides a mandatory framework for all to follow.”