12 December 2000

Alison Halford (Delyn):

Will he make a statement on the limited availability of Private Business to fulfil the contractual needs of the Assembly. (OAQ8421)

The First Minister:

It is the Assembly’s policy to make the maximum use of quality Welsh products, services, and expertise within the procedures set down in the European regulations on procurement. This means that Welsh companies need to compete and be able to demonstrate their ‘added value’ and ‘competitiveness’. The regulations require that there can be no discrimination for or against a particular nation’s products or services. It is our policy, in line with UK Government policy, to obtain best value for money from publicly funded projects in Wales. The Assembly is investing heavily in developing Welsh firms to be more competitive and in enhancing the skills of the local workforce. Various initiatives are already in place, such as the WDA’s Source Wales scheme, whose aims include increasing profitability, competitiveness and the growth of companies based in Wales. Source Wales is a buyer-driven initiative aimed at helping Welsh companies win more business. It works with Welsh business to ensure that their performance meets the high standards expected by today’s leading companies. Each of our public bodies has its own initiatives to help local suppliers. For example the Assembly is currently undertaking a review of procurement across the public sector in Wales. The review is addressing, among other things, how we can best assist our small and medium sized enterprises to successfully compete for publicly funded business.

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