A New Study Argues that Public Procurement Can Alleviate Poverty

This post originally appeared on Public Spend Forum

While we’ve spend a lot of time looking at how public procurement can achieve a wide variety of social outcomes—everything from greener practices to small business development—one that I hadn’t yet seen is the argument that public buying could help lower poverty numbers. But a new study from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation argues just that. What’s of particular interest to me is that the study doesn’t just raise questions about how public procurement can tackle poverty, but in particular social mobility. In other words, how it can help raise people out of endemic poverty, particularly young people, who are looking at bleak job prospects. The paper’s authors write:

  • Significant impacts on poverty and social mobility would be achieved if the entire UK public sector pledged to generate a year’s work for a person from a target disadvantaged community for each £1m in contract value.
  • With reductions in welfare budgets and continuing public spending cuts, it is essential that public expenditure is used throughout the UK to reduce unemployment, poverty and welfare costs. Recruiting local people from disadvantaged groups involves little or no extra cost, boosts the local economy and benefits contractors, who get a skilled and committed workforce.

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