Scheme for public sector to spend cash on services in city

Photo Ian Robinson'Preston landmarks'Preston Town Hall
Photo Ian Robinson'Preston landmarks'Preston Town Hall
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A SCHEME which will see some of Preston’s biggest public sector employers procure products and services from other firms in the city is being developed.

The aim of the new scheme is to help business in the city secure deals from organisations including Preston Council, Lancashire County Council, UCLan and the city’s colleges.

The programme, which is in the early stages, was discussed at a non-domestic rate payers cabinet meeting held at the town hall.

Coun Matthew Brown, cabinet member for community engagement and inclusion, told the meeting that similar schemes are currently run in other areas of the country.

He said: “It is an idea we have imported, it’s happening in Manchester and South Tyneside. It is to benefit the local businesses, it is one quite exciting initiative we are doing. It is to increase procurement spent in the local economy.”

Coun Martyn Rawlinson, cabinet member for resources, added: “It will put money in local businesses pockets, that money goes round and round locally instead of share holders’ pockets.”

Hugh Evans, policy director for the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce said: “Collectively Lancashire’s public sector is the single biggest contractor in the County. The key challenge for the public sector is to make sure that as much of this spending power is kept in Lancashire and used to produce not just economic but social and environmental outcomes, such as encouraging innovation and the use of small firms.”

The meeting was a chance for representatives from Preston Business Improvement District and the chamber of commerce to hear what the council is doing to help businesses.