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Guidance published by the Cabinet Office makes clear that procurement boycotts by public authorities are inappropriate, outside where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the government.
All contracting authorities will be impacted by this new guidance including central government, executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, the wider public sector, local authorities and NHS bodies. Any public body found to be in breach of the regulations could be subject to severe penalties.
The World Trade Organisation Government Procurement Agreement – an international market access agreement – requires all those countries that have signed up to the Agreement to treat suppliers equally. This includes the EU and Israel. Any discrimination against Israeli suppliers involving procurements would therefore be in breach of the Agreement.
Cabinet Office Minister, Matthew Hancock said:
“We need to challenge and prevent divisive town hall boycotts. The new guidance on procurement combined with changes we are making to how pension pots can be invested will help prevent damaging and counter-productive local foreign policies undermining our national security.
“We support UK local authorities, businesses and individual consumers alike in making informed choices about how they procure services and products from overseas.”