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Departmental Procurement

Volume 546: debated on Tuesday 19 June 2012

We are always looking for opportunities to improve efficiency and to support cross-Government policies such as open procurement to small and medium-sized enterprises.

I thank the Minister for his answer. Given the Government’s mercantilist foreign policy, should we not be using our embassies to show off the best of British? Ceramics businesses in my constituency complain that our consulates are undermining exports by not using British-made ware. Will the Minister confirm that, in future, when dinner is served and when tea is poured in UK embassies across the world, the words “Made in Stoke-on-Trent” will be in evidence?

The hon. Gentleman is a good champion of the interests of his city and his constituents in this regard. The Government are well aware of the fine quality of the porcelain from Stoke-on-Trent and, indeed, from other places in the United Kingdom, but in taking procurement decisions we have to balance the wish to showcase the best of British with the need to provide value for money, so that we can continue to protect front-line services.