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Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will amend the guidance given in the Government's Code for Sustainable Procurement to give greater weight to the procurement of locally produced food and drink. (164700)

I assume my hon. Friend is referring to the guidance on the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI).

The legal framework governing public procurement does not allow public bodies to give greater weight to locally produced food and drink when awarding contracts. This is because public bodies are required to ensure public procurement is fair, transparent and not used to discriminate by setting up barriers to free trade. It would also reduce competition contrary to UK public procurement policy that is designed to achieve value for money for the taxpayer.

The legal and policy framework does provide public bodies with plenty of flexibility to be innovative in their procurement and, for example, we are encouraging them through the PSFPI to increase tendering opportunities for small and local producers. How they can do this is explained in the advice on the PSFPI website, including our recently published guide “Putting it into practice” on the guidance page at: