Page last updated at 15:48 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Northern Ireland Assembly

The finance committee brought a motion on public procurement policy to the assembly on 23 February 2010. This is the conclusion of the debate.

The committee presented the conclusions of the Report on the Inquiry into Public Procurement Policy and Practice in Northern Ireland, and asked the finance minister Sammy Wilson to implement the recommendations.

Sinn Fein's Jennifer McCann said implementing the report was an essential part of the investment strategy and could secure current jobs and create new employment opportunities.

The DUP's Simon Hamilton said there was a need to balance the benefits for NI companies through procurement with the issue of value for money. He said he was happy to endorse the report as it did "not throw the baby out with the bath water".

The UUP's David McNarry said access to procurement opportunities for small businesses was an important way to regenerate the economy and keep as much public money in NI as possible.

The SDLP's Declan O'Loan said it was a high quality and important report, with important benefits for the small business and social economy sectors.

The finance minister said his department already tries to build in the concept of what social good can be extracted from money going into contracts, and that there was no room for complacency in procurement.

He said he believed the report was balanced and was not a "bashing exercise".

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