This week the European Parliament voted through new rules on the awarding of public procurement contracts.
Readers will no doubt remember the disappointment in our region when Derby-based company Bombardier lost out to Siemens in a bid to build rolling stock for Thameslink.
Since then, Labour MEPs have been pushing for reforms to EU procurement law. The Thameslink decision was based on the fact that Siemens could offer a lower cost, but under the new rules governments will be encouraged to use ‘most economically advantageous criteria’, which mean they should take social and environmental concerns into consideration when awarding contracts.
The new rules also allow procurers to insist that collective bargaining agreements are respected and to exclude operators who break environmental and labour laws, such as those involved in blacklisting workers.
I don’t support everything in the new directive but it does represent a significant improvement that will allow governments and local authorities to strategically use public procurement contracts for the benefit of everyone.