Friday, 17 October 2014
Social Clauses in Public Procurement Bill 2013: Second Stage [Private Members]
I am not arguing that everything is signed, sealed and delivered in the North, but the former Northern Ireland Minister for Regional Development, Mr. Conor Murphy, MP, successfully unbundled contracts and introduced social clauses. I do not mean to bleat about the excellence of Sinn Féin, I only offer an example to show that there is experience in the North on a range of procurement issues. Ms Jennifer McCann, MLA, has been critical of some EU standards because they lock SMEs out of the game. My argument is that we can learn from each other as public procurement is a huge area of public policy. There can be massive gains in the public sector, while I also believe in private commercial international procurement. We must learn and get the legislation right.
I look forward to working with the Minister of State and other colleagues in bringing forward legislation. I am not precious about the fact that this is my legislation - I am realistic enough to know that it will be Government legislation - but I want to be reassured that this issue will not be shuffled to committee level and then forgotten. This is an urgent matter that deserves urgent attention.