Ashfield council launches drive to 'buy local' to support economy and UK-based businesses post-Brexit
Members of Ashfield District Council look set to push forward a drive to ‘buy local’ following the UK’s departure from the European Union, after it was highlighted that existing legislation still ties the union to Europe in business terms.
A motion was submitted to the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee earlier this year and was endorsed by members as part of a move to support British and Ashfield-based businesses.
At another meeting of the committee, set to take place on Thursday, June 17, the subject is expected to be added to the list of topics debated.
The motion, submitted by the Ashfield Independents, reads: “This council notes that the United Kingdom is the oldest and most profitable union in history.
“The UK, now in this post-Brexit era, should be in a position to make its own laws and decisions but this is not yet the case.
“The pandemic that we are living through has highlighted just how dependent the United Kingdom still is on other countries, for example, the reliance on Personal Protective Equipment from abroad.
“Our country has all the skills to have provided that much-needed PPE, especially here in Ashfield where there is an abundance of garment making skills.
“This council believes that if our businesses are to compete on a worldwide stage, it is crucial to have support at home.
“If we don’t want to be dependent on other countries, we must put our own house in order by purchasing UK goods.
“Our UK companies need to provide alternatives to foreign commodities, as UK competitiveness is critical if, as a country, we want to be able to stand alone in the world. “With support from UK residents and organisations buying goods from our own country, jobs and more investment will follow.
“The history and capabilities of our country proves that the UK can succeed on the world stage. For example, Great Britain led the world in developing the Covid-19 vaccine.
“Ashfield Independents want this council to take a lead in buying UK goods and set a positive example to our residents, other local authorities and nationally, by supporting UK companies wherever possible.
“This, however, is very difficult as the Government has failed to change laws surrounding procurement post-Brexit.
“A raft of laws have simply been carried over unchanged from the EU. This council, unfortunately, is still forced into advertising large contracts in Europe, so therefore the UK and this council is not able to make its own decisions.
"It is the firm will of this administration, that as soon as the restraints are lifted from the authority, that as many purchases as possible will come from UK-based organisations, and further that we will support as many local trades and companies as is possible.”
The motion also states that Parliamentary support from MPs who represent the district is ‘sadly lacking’ and endorses a letter being written asking them to take up the fight in Westminster, ‘and by so doing, save and keep jobs and encourage new and old UK-based companies and businesses to invest in this country’.