MSPs unanimously pass Procurement Reform Bill

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MSPs unanimously passed the Procurement Reform Bill on 13 May 2014.

The bill aims to improve the way the public sector buys goods, works and services.

Public bodies account for about £10 billion of spending annually in Scotland.

The stated aims of the bill include "supporting Scotland's economic growth by delivering social and environmental benefits" and "supporting innovation" while ensuring the process is "transparent, streamlined, standardised, proportionate, fair and business friendly."

Other aspects of the bill include improving the opportunities for small and medium sized businesses to bid for contracts and guidance on the living wage.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a good piece of legislation which struck the balance of being "business friendly and socially responsible" that "would deliver value for the tax payer".

Ms Sturgeon stressed the issues of the living wage, blacklisting, zero-hours contracts and equality would be "central to the regulations and guidance that will underpin this legislation".

Labour MSP James Kelly said his party would support the bill but it was a "missed opportunity" to implement more fairness throughout Scotland.

An attempt to introduce a mandatory living wage in public procurement by Mr Kelly, was defeated during the final amendment stage of the bill.

Alex Johnstone, speaking for the Scottish Conservatives, also backed the legislation saying its priorities had been to make procurement simple and easy to access for companies to bid for contracts.

Liberal Democrat MSP Tavish Scott said he hoped the bill would be a considerable step forward in procurement in Scotland.

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