Farron calls for protection for small businesses in new building maintenance arrangements
South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on Cumbria County Council to ensure that small businesses do not lose out under changes to the Council's process for managing building maintenance contracts. The changes will primarily affect firms who currently carry out Council work in roofing, joinery, plastering, and decorating, heating, plumbing and electrical services repairs.
Under current arrangements all small repair and maintenance work is done on an ad-hoc basis using a list of over 200 businesses. The County Council are now aiming to streamline their procedures on the grounds of efficiency, reducing the number of firms on their books and putting a select group under contract to carry out maintenance work.
Mr Farron has however sounded a note of caution, warning that there is a danger of procedures and size criteria of the new contracts becoming prohibitive for smaller companies and calling for all small businesses to be given 'a fair crack of the whip' when applying for Council contracts.
Commenting, Tim said: "It is important that any changes to the way the council awards maintenance work do not adversely affect the small local businesses that currently cover much of this work. There is a real danger that contracts with particular size criteria would result in small firms losing out to bigger companies, and we must ensure that they are protected from being squeezed out of Council work in this way."