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Dickson Gives Cautious Welcome to Finance Minister’s Announcement on Social Value Bill

East Antrim MLA, Stewart Dickson, has tentatively welcomed news from the Department of Finance of a proposed Social Value Bill.

Stewart Dickson MLA has been working since the 2016 election to bring forward a Social Value Bill for Northern Ireland.

The Bill would mirror similar legislation in England. The Bill would place a statutory duty on public authorities to maximise social, economic, and environmental wellbeing through public procurement.

The Finance Minister has already said: “Every year the public sector spends nearly £3 billion on goods, services, and works. I want to introduce exemplary Social Value legislation to ensure this spending delivers additional social and economic benefits within our communities.”

Mr Dickson commented: “I welcomed the Finance Minister’s commitment to me in November 2016 that he would bring forward the Social Value Bill.

“His announcement on Friday 13th January, that following a meeting with the Procurement Board, he was publicly committing to a Social Value Bill was welcome news.

“As the day was Friday the 13th, it was not all good news however. I bitterly regret the wider political context which may make his commitment irrelevant.

“The election has created uncertainty for the pre-consultation on the Social Value Bill. It will cause a question mark as to whether key stakeholders will be consulted in coming weeks.

“Clearly the Minister saw the value of such a Bill for Northern Ireland. It is a pity he and his party have not worked harder to keep the Northern Irish Executive operational.”

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