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Unite suggests public sector fleets should buy British

As part of a 10-point plan to build on the recent successes in the UK automotive industry, Britain's biggest union Unite has called on public bodies to buy local to support UK automotive and components manufacturing.

A freedom of information request tabled by the Union has found that 72% of vehicles procured by police authorities were manufactured overseas.

Merseyside police procured 11.5% of their vehicles from UK-based manufacturers, with 8% of the total from Vauxhall, while West Midlands police procured 30% of their vehicles from UK-based manufacturers, with 2% of the total from Jaguar Land Rover.

Unite believes that a key element of boosting vehicle manufacturing must include a positive procurement policy encouraged by central government to buy vehicles manufactured in the UK. The public sector spends around £220 billion each year on procurement.

Unite national officer Roger Maddison said: "The Government could boost demand at a stroke by introducing a procurement strategy to support UK motor manufacturing.

“It is outrageous that 72 per cent of police vehicles are built outside the UK. This would never happen in Germany or France. Public bodies in the UK should use their buying power to support UK manufacturing.

"An interventionist government could do so much to support jobs and skills in manufacturing. It is time for the Government to listen to our demands because Unite understands manufacturing and the measures needed to support it."

Click Here to read how the new Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, has pledged his commitment MG Motor UK and how he plans to incentivise staff to buy Birmingham.

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  • rosco7 - 23/05/2012 09:27

    It is not possible for any part of the public sector to discriminate in its spending in this way. All tenders are open to companies across the EU and to reject tenders simply because they are not British. In order to acheive this the UK would have to withdraw from elements of the EU in relation to free trade. I admire the sentiment of the Union, but what they seek is impossible. Perhaps they would get more success by insisting Germany and France have open tenders that British made vehicles could compete in.

  • Vision - 25/05/2012 10:26

    I slightly disagree with rosco7 as many police services currently build vehicle specifications that exclude "unwanted manufacturers" leaving the only manufacturer able to win, this is often shown within the tender specification and could be a simple as "minimum length" a favoured one with the Met. The other issue is that police are scared to be seen buying and using the likes of range rovers etc because of public perception even though they are best placed when measuring the total cost of ownership, there is also a reluctance to this often because of ongoing relationships with some suppliers.

  • joolsee - 25/05/2012 10:31

    In addition to Rosco7's comments. Public sector procurement must deliver the best value for the tax payer. If British is best and lowest whole life costs then they will win. It is up to manufacturers to make cars that meet public sector fleet requirements.

  • rosco7 - 25/05/2012 15:16

    In response to Vision - I think you can use definable criteria that is linked to either cost, environmental or anything to do with the vehicle being fit for purpose, but if there is an arbitrary criteria then they public body leave themselves open to a legal challenge. Trouble is the Brits stick to the rules whereas some countries in Europe ignore them.

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