Yesterday in the House of Commons, the leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom was asked a question regarding the restoration and renewal of the Palace of Westminster. The person who asked her was Gareth Snell who is the Labour MP for Stoke on Trent Central. He asked:
“The Leader of the House’s responsibilities for the restoration and renewal project mean that she has a great opportunity to shape one of the biggest public sector procurement exercises over the next generation. With that in mind, how will she ensure that once this palace is renewed, it is stuffed to the rafters with the best of British manufacturing? When it comes to ceramics….my hon. Friend Ruth Smeeth and I would be more than happy to facilitate conversations between the ceramics industry and architects here to ensure that, whether for pipes, plates, teapots or tiles, Stoke-on-Trent has its place in the new palace.”
This is good news on several fronts. The first that any MP is bothering to look at such matters closely and the second that despite the lie that Chris Grayling told us a few days earlier “The Government are told time and again that we should contract and work with small business, and help small businesses to develop, but when we do so, we get nothing but a wall of criticism from Opposition Members.” that the Labour Party is in fact very positive about how local businesses can gain Government contracts. The response from Andrea was:
“Of course, there is a long way to go with the restoration and renewal of the palace. We have made good progress, and the legislation is now under joint scrutiny under the chairmanship of my right hon. Friend Dame Caroline Spelman. Once that has taken place, we can start considering procurement procedures. There is already a commitment to look carefully at maximising the use of UK producers as far as possible, and there will be plenty of opportunities for all sorts of small and medium-sized enterprises in our constituencies.”
Now of course SMEs (particularly small and micro businesses) need opportunities that don’t take an eternity which appears to be the approach that the Government often takes, but at long long last there is something for SMEs to be positive about when it comes to the Governments statements.