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Buy British-made cars call

MPs urge police forces to procure local vehicles
Hajera Blagg, Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Two MPs launched a debate in the House of Commons last week (July 16), calling on police forces to support the UK automotive industry by buying British-made cars – a policy that Unite has long lobbied for.

West Chester MP Chris Matheson and Ellesmere Port and Neston MP Justin Madders railed against a police procurement contract that will see Cheshire police soon driving Peugeots, despite a buzzing Vauxhall plant operating right in the middle of the community and employing 3,000 people from across the region.

“Our car manufacturing sector is a real success story but it still needs every bit of help it can get,” Matheson said.

“No other country would betray its workers in this way and, to add insult to injury, we are giving this contract to Peugeot – a company which chose to close its only British car factory a few years ago, even though it was profitable. So why reward them now?”

Matheson noted that he while he accepted that cost must be a central factor in procurement he added that “there must surely be a cost-benefit consideration for the British economy more widely.



Support skilled employment 

“We must support skilled employment, retain skills and provide opportunities for real apprenticeships, which the government are keen to promote, as opposed to the more cheap and cheerful training courses,” Matheson noted.

“The automotive industry has led the way in providing quality training and apprenticeships, and in bringing real skills and design innovation into this country. It has given real value to the country, and we should be supporting it in its success.”

Madders agreed, noting that when looking for value for money on an issue such as vehicle procurement, “it is important that we take a wider, more holistic approach than simply looking at individual unit cost.

“We need to look at the value, not just the price,” he said. “That encompasses a range of issues, including fuel economy, servicing, maintenance cost, resale value, fitness for purpose and, most importantly, social value.”

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke praised the debate, which brought the issue of a public procurement strategy to drive economic growth front and centre.

“We’ve been working hard to get local bodies and police forces to address the issue of purchasing UK-manufactured vehicles and we’re going to continue to do that,” said Burke.

“That MPs Chris Matheson and Justin Madders have secured a debate in Parliament so early on is a great move and it gives us a good springboard that will enable us to continue to campaign on the issue.”
Find a full transcript of the debate here.







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