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Ben Wallace urged to shake up rules for buying military gear to benefit British workers

NewsBen Wallace urged to shake up rules for buying military gear to benefit British workers

The Government has been urged to overhaul its military procurement processes in order to benefit British workers. Prospect union, which represents 11,000 scientists, engineers and managers across the industry, called on ministers to put more emphasis on the “social value” of contract bids.

The union published a 60-page report, entitled “Design, build and maintain: Effective defence procurement”, which called for a “fundamental review of procurement regulations”.

It accused the Government of failing to provide the same level of support for UK companies as other countries provide for their own.

Sue Ferns, Prospect’s senior deputy general secretary, told the Mirror: “The British defence procurement process is broken and does virtually nothing to promote and sustain domestic business, unlike other countries.

“We need a complete overhaul of the system so we can put UK jobs and the economy at the heart of the bidding process.

“Only by changing the way we do things will we secure sovereign capacity and support the defence jobs of the future.

“We call on all political parties to adopt these proposals and demonstrate their commitment to those communities who rely on defence jobs.”

The union’s report said the Government’s failure to support UK companies “means we are not getting value for money and the economy is losing out.”

It added: “While the UK says it gives more weight to the ‘social value’ of contract bids, there is no evidence that it actually does so, instead giving too much weight to baseline cost.”

Prospect has called for an overhaul of the system, including the introduction of a wider range of reasons for excluding foreign bidders from contract competitions.

It also wants the system to automatically favour British companies.

Their report advocates “amending the regulations and guidance” to send “an important signal that culture change is necessary by changing the legislation and guidance to achieve a UK by default approach”.

“There is an opportunity to reframe the procurement rules in a way that makes a real difference to outcomes while retaining a rigorous process of independent auditing of major projects,” says the study.

“Currently the playing field is not level. The UK Government does not provide the same support for UK companies that other countries provide for their defence industries.

“Prospect feels that a more fundamental review of procurement regulations is required.

“Government should still strive to achieve value for money, but this needs to be balanced by a stronger commitment to a wider industrial strategic goal of developing UK industry.”

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