The UK Metals Council calls for a more ambitious programme to support UK manufacturing supply chains.
In broadly welcoming a more streamlined and transparent process for public procurement, the UKMC would like the principles be more ambitious; as currently outlined they represent a missed opportunity to significantly transform UK supply chains in support of the UK economy. Public procurement has a significant role to play but the proposed plan is not likely to significantly enable this or change the status quo - the Government has an enormously powerful tool at its disposal to support UK jobs and economic growth.
Specifically, UKMC would like to see an alignment of public procurement with other government strategies and grand challenges, specifically:
· Net Zero 2050 (clean growth);
· Sustainability and resource efficiencies;
· The levelling-up agenda;
· Transforming Foundation Industries challenge.
It is important that value is placed upon the greater use of locally-sourced content down the supply chain, due to the additional value that this can deliver to the UK in terms of jobs and skills in the regions (levelling-up), as well as the impact on reducing transport and freight (net zero).
The UKMC also welcomed the additional training for procurement teams and stands ready to support and enable this.
Chris McDonald, Chair of UKMC, said, “The lower levels of most supply chains are frequently dominated by SMEs and local employers. There is currently no transparency about where sub-contracted parts and services are sourced by main contractors for public contracts, leading to lost opportunities for UK suppliers, and we encourage the Government to revise the current plans so that they can be used to improve this situation.
“Metals are a critical economic resource and there is an opportunity here to use public procurement to support UK supply chains – and we can increase recycling and create a circular economy in these valuable materials within the UK. This will boost both environmental sustainability and sovereign security of supply.”