In the 12 August issue of Building there is an article entitled “Ethnic minority firm gets helping hand in Burnley” (page 18 - see related articles). The implication of this article – the same implication as contained in a separate recent article in Building about social enterprises – is that it is easy for local authorities to put a condition in their contracts to require contractors to employ local labour and use local firms. This is not the case.

The European Procurement Regime, which applies to all local authorities, specifically precludes any authority from requiring, in any contract of any value, that the contractor should employ people or subcontractors from any particular locality. Contractors must be free to purchase their materials, source their workforce and employ subcontractors from anywhere within European Union.

Many local authorities would like to conspicuously promote the economy of their own area by demanding that contractors employ local labour and local businesses but this is emphatically illegal.

John Ryding, Preston