It is often said by the filed old parties that UKIP is irrelevant at a local level because it’s nothing to do with the EU.
UKIP is about far more than the EU of course – the party has a more comprehensive manifesto than the Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems – so the suggestion that we are a single-issue party is rubbish. UKIP is the only party in Telford & Wrekin that has a local manifesto for Telford & Wrekin so we’re clearly not irrelevant at a local level – with UKIP Telford & Wrekin you know what you’re going to get all the time, not a glossy leaflet before an election with some promises that nobody has any intention of keeping.
Which leaves the EU which apparently has nothing to do with local government. So why is Telford & Wrekin Council putting a contract to build and operate an aerial rope course at Telford Town Park out to tender across the EU? Is it because there are no playground equipment suppliers in the county? Nope, there are several. Is it because they want to save money and they think a foreign company can do it cheaper than a local company? Nope, the cost will account for only 30% of the weighting applied to the decision-making process. Is it because EU Directives 1564/2005 and 2195/2002 (introduced into English law with the Public Contracts Regulations 2006, Statutory Instrument No. 5) require Telford & Wrekin Council to put contracts for services and supplies worth more than £173,934 to EU-wide tender, preventing the local authority from supporting local businesses? Yes!
Putting this contract out to tender across the EU costs money, as does administering the tendering process to ensure it complies with the aforementioned EU directives. The companies bidding for the contract will also have to spend a lot of time and money wading through a pile of paperwork to ensure their bid complies with all the relevant EU rules. The upshot is that this procurement process that is supposedly imposed on us to ensure the taxpayer gets good value for money and gives every company in the EU a “fair” chance to bid for public sector contracts ends up wasting taxpayers’ money on pointless administration, drives up the cost of services provided to the public sector and deprives local businesses of access to local government contracts which does nothing to improve the local economy. And this is just one of an ever-increasing number of ways that the EU impacts on local government.