Any firm bidding for contracts of more than petty value with the public sector will have faced the daunting hurdles of Euro Procurement. The public sector has made a religion out of compliance with all the tedious, bureaucratic, costly, time-wasting, inefficient foolishness required by Brussels in inviting Romanian horse-knackers, Sicilian mafioso and Lithuanian bordello chains to bid on equal terms with UK firms for local, domestic contracts such as building a new school or making dinners for its pupils.
Tussell (£) reports that in 2016 the UK public sector advertised 17,000 tenders with a value of £301bn that were open to EU firms. The MoD was the largest Euro Advertiser with 700 contracts worth £13bn. Construction and IT are probably the biggest categories of work, but even suppliers of civil service paper clips must bid against Bulgarian wire-benders; 9,000 supply contracts in 2016 worth some £38bn.
Ho, you may huff. At least all that contract money wasted on Kermits and Huns will come back to John Bull. But actually no. The whole lengthy, complicated, expensive, time consuming process that employs the time of thousands of public sector workers is utterly and absolutely pointless. A Parliamentary briefing paper (6029,2015) finds that just 1.3% of public contracts go to European firms - and that UK firms win just 0.8% of other EU public contracts. We'd save billions just by abolishing the inane process - billions more than the public sector saves by compulsory Euro procurement.
The public sector must be free to decide where best value in procurement lays.* Whether this is the EU, the US, the far East or Grimsby. Without Compulsion. And a bonfire of The 2015 Public Contracts Regulations. I dare say no-one would actually notice if we binned the thing right away and redeployed all those redundant public sector workers into wiping old people's bottoms or something useful.
*Yes, this is a Suffolkism. For the rest of you read 'lies'