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Public Procurement: Value for Money

Volume 732: debated on Thursday 11 May 2023

15. What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to ensure value for money in public procurement spending. (904868)

It is Government policy to award contracts on value-for-money terms, as is set out in “Managing Public Money”. We always look for the optimum combination of cost and quality over the lifetime of any project. The Procurement Bill will drive value for money by providing greater flexibility to contracting authorities to design efficient, commercial and market-focused competitions, and it removes overly prescriptive rules contained in existing regulations that we would have been bound to if, as the Opposition wanted, we had stayed in the European Union.

I am fiercely supportive of the project to build a gigafactory on the Blyth estuary, which would provide much-needed jobs for my constituents. However, I also believe in due diligence when spending public money. Would my hon. Friend agree with me that it was a wise decision for the Government to withhold the release of a £100 million grant for this project? The Labour party wanted to release this large sum of public money without ensuring the financial stability of the business, once again spending other people’s money.

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: taxpayer money must always be used responsibly. Unfortunately, the conditions of the grant were not met and therefore no funds from the automotive transformation fund were paid out. We are pleased that Britishvolt has successfully been acquired and we will continue to work closely with the local authority to ensure the best outcome for this sale.