By Swindon Labour Group Leader Cllr Jim Grant
One of the most significant ways councils and other public bodies can have a significant effect on local economic growth is through their spending on goods and services. In 2017 the council spent more than £200m within the private sector, if you include other public sector bodies within Swindon that procurement spend will likely total near to a £100m.
However, of the total private sector spend on goods and services Swindon Council currently makes, less than 40% goes to local companies.
Labour believes much more council spending in the private sector for goods and services could go towards local business, creating new jobs and prosperity in the town.
Labour-led local councils across the country are using a recent law passed in 2012 called The Social Value Act to enable them to spend more on local suppliers for goods and services.
Manchester City Council, for example, have used this law to spend around 70% of their total outlay on goods and services going in to their local economy, creating more than 1000 new jobs in 2017. Preston City Council have more than doubled their total spending on goods and services in the local area and have stipulated that their local suppliers have to pay their staff a living wage.
Labour believes Swindon’s diverse economy is perfect for this approach to council procurement and could enable tens of millions of pounds more to be spent in the local economy. If elected next year to run the council that is exactly what we will do.