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Countryside Alliance gives full support to the Buy British Bill

The Countryside Alliance fully supports the Public Procurement (British Goods and Services) Bill and is urging MPs to give it a Second Reading.

Colloquially known as the ‘Buy British Bill’, this Private Members’ Bill brought by Sarah Champion MP (Rotherham, Lab) has been developed in conjunction with a broad stakeholder group including representatives of key businesses, sectors, labour, governance and interests. The Countryside Alliance has been involved from the outset.

Like our fellow stakeholder group members the NFU, the Countryside Alliance is primarily interested in this Bill based on its potential impact on the procurement of British food. Supporting British food and farming is one of its principal objectives.

This is a relatively simple, uncontroversial Bill with two substantive sections that would amend two existing Acts of Parliament relating to requirements to be followed in public procurement. The Bill’s amendments aim to raise the level of importance attached to the origin of goods and services, and associated factors, in procurement decisions.

Although we are primarily interested in the Bill’s provisions relating to British food and farming, having been involved in the stakeholder group meetings that helped frame it, we are conscious of its wider significance to British businesses and their employees.

Specifically in the arena of food, this Bill does not require public procurement professionals to take any specific action beyond reporting the proportion of what has been procured that originates from within the United Kingdom. Such an obligation cannot reasonably be seen as compromising the UK’s international obligations, but it does stand to benefit UK food producers on the principle that what is inspected is generally delivered.

Care has been taken in drafting the Bill to avoid including measures that would threaten the UK’s international obligations with respect to trade rules.

Both the Government and the Opposition have expressed commitment to improving opportunities for British farmers and food producers to benefit from the award of public procurement contracts. This Bill represents an incremental change within a developing policy area that supports both main parties’ stated objectives.

The Countryside Alliance's full briefing note in the Bill, which has been shared with MPs, is available to download and read.

Read the full Briefing Note

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