South Tyneside Council’s £115million spending boost for local firms
More than half of all spending by town hall chiefs went on South Tyneside firms last year, according to new figures.
Data from South Tyneside Council (STC) showed businesses in the borough were boosted to the tune of almost £115m in 2018/19 – equivalent to about 55 per cent of all goods and services procurement.
Bosses have put the achievement down to the success of the ‘Supply South Tyneside’ scheme, which was set up in 2011 to help South Tyneside businesses win local government contracts.
Council leader Iain Malcolm said: “The ‘Supply South Tyneside’ scheme demonstrates our total commitment to the ongoing economic prosperity of the Borough.
“It represents positive and direct action to ensure that buying local is not just common sense but makes real good business sense.
“As a council we are committed to doing everything we can to stimulate the local economy.
“We spend a significant amount of money on commissioned supplies, services and works provided by external organisations.
“They help us to deliver essential services from social care to housing repair – we must ensure that not only do we get value for money for our tax payers but that the money we spend reaps an economic benefit to our communities.”
Figures for 2018/19 showed STC spent more than £207m on goods and services, with about £115m ‘spent locally’.
The council set a target of 50 per cent of cash for goods and services going to firms based in the borough.
Since 2010 the Council has spent £1.7bn – £1.2bn with Tyne and Wear businesses, of which £826m was spent with South Tyneside businesses.
One of the companies to benefit from the policy was Rae’s Bakery, in Western Approach, South Shields, which credits a £100,000 contract to supply schools with bread bun with keeping it afloat during a rough trading patch.
Dave Thompson, managing director at the firm which employs 23 people, said: “The council contract is incredibly important to us as it brings much-needed volume through the business.
“I think we would have definitely gone under without it.
“At the very least, we would have had to lose three of four employees from the business and we may well have just decided to give up as the economic climate is so challenging.”
He added: “The online process was very simplistic and there were specialist advisors available for any firms which were completely new to tendering for public sector contracts.”
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service