The economy and job creation in West Wales could be boosted by an alliance of local producers, suppliers, and the public sector, according to Plaid Cymru’s Cllr Cefin Campbell. He was speaking after a series of seminars attended by over 200 interested parties specifically looking at food and drink procurement.
The model should be applied to other areas of major public sector spending said Cllr Campbell, who’s Plaid Cymru Senedd Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. He’s pledged to build on the work of bringing together producers, suppliers, and procurers across the public service in the region to increase the amount of public sector money being spent in the local economy.
Speaking after addressing the seminars, Cefin Campbell said:
“The work undertaken by the Public Service Board in Carmarthenshire shows that there is a real appetite to increase the amount of public money being spent across the county. The public sector in Carmarthenshire is already spending about £5 million annually on food procurement with real opportunities to increase this moving forward. I was pleased to be part of the discussions regarding putting the steps in place to help local food and drink producers and suppliers understand our vision, and what we need to do together to increase local food production to fulfil our public sector contracts.
“I’m committed to ensure that the discussions we’ve held with local producers and suppliers will bring about changes in how we share information about tenders, increase the awareness of the tendering and procurement process, and more importantly will build alliances to help smaller producers and suppliers to be able to bid for public sector contracts.
“I firmly believe that we should be expanding this work to other public sector procurement, not just food and drink, and I am committed to making that happen. Currently Carmarthenshire County Council spends about £300 million a year on goods and services, about 53% procured within county, so there’s huge scope to further increase local expenditure. I believe that by making these changes, we will not only be able to see a major boost to the local economy which will in turn create well needed jobs across West Wales. This would be a huge boost to the development of a circular economy which is about keeping the pound as local as possible.”