Let North’s firms win more Government contracts; no excuses now – The Yorkshire Post says

IT is nearly six months since Chancellor Rishi Sunak rewrote the Treasury’s Green Book spending rules in order to pave the way for more public money to be spent on infrastructure investment in Yorkshire and the North.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Yet, as The Yorkshire Post and others await the first analysis of these changes, and their impact, a new opportunity is emerging for Mr Sunak, the Richmond MP, to further demonstrate his commitment to this region.

This follows publication of new evidence which reveals the extent to which Government contracts have been overwhelmingly awarded to firms in London and the South East.

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House of Commons data confirms that London companies received 772 out of 2,879 contracts deemed large enough to be listed in the EU’s Tenders Electronic Daily database between 2017 and last year. In contrast, just 210 Yorkshire firms were the recipients of such deals.

Boris Johnson (L) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (C), stand on board a boat on the River Tees as they are urged to award more Government contracts to the North.

Now the Government says, in its defence, that Britain has now left the European Union and that its Procurement Green Paper, published last December, does intend to make it easier for firms across Britain to apply for taxpayer-funded contracts worth nearly £300bn.

Yet, while it is Mr Sunak’s duty to ensure that public money is spent wisely, and far more efficiently than at present, it is, nevertheless, in the Government’s interests to be far more proactive when it comes to advertising such contracts and actually encouraging firms in the North to bid for them.

The benefits are three-fold. First, costs here are cheaper than in London. Second, it potentially opens up new opportunities to businesses here. Finally, such a move could help to underpin a future ‘levelling up’ agenda. But the latter will only happen when Mr Sunak – and the Government – set out specific policy goals with far more clarity than the current ad hoc tokenism.

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