Thanet council plan to head up ‘buy local’ scheme in boost to isle businesses

Cabinet member for finance Rob Yates is angry that cuts have to be made again

A Thanet council Covid recovery plan will include boosting the local economy by using authority funds and influence to ‘buy local’.

The community wealth building plan, which had previously been discussed as part of the council’s budget plans, would aim to use local businesses for TDC’s contracts to generate more local spending.

The proposal, which was tagged Enterprising Thanet, is a “buy local” strategy based on the Preston Model where the council and larger anchor businesses redirect their annual spend to local businesses and enterprises.

Preston City Council adopted the model in 2013. Work has included establishing a publicly-owned investment bank to support local small businesses and social enterprises.

Preston council says anchor institutions – such as  NHS trusts, universities, trade unions, large local businesses and housing associations – can recruit from lower incomes areas, with a commitment to paying the living wage, and develop local supply chains.

The idea is to use a social value procurement process. Winning bids would have to still represent the best value for money but contracts could be carved into pieces to give smaller businesses an even playing field.

Council Cabinet members are due to discuss the idea in a virtual Cabinet meeting on Thursday (June 18),

In a report to members it says the scheme will “encourage local business growth by using TDC’s purchasing power and influence to keep wealth in our local economy,” adding the aim to “pick a few particular areas of our contracting activity that might be most fruitful in generating more local spending and review our procurement rules and strategy.”

The new strategy has been deemed important enough to be added as a portfolio position.

Cabinet member for Finance, Administration and Community Wealth Building, Cllr Rob Yates said: “Thanet community wealth building is about buying local, hiring local and investing locally. The aim is to ensure we support, invest and promote the organisations we have in our community.

“We committed to this approach as part of our 2019-23 Corporate Statement and this also forms an important part of our plans around recovery.

“As part of this we want to work collaboratively with other public, private and third sector organisations to understand their views on the Thanet economy and how we can work together to push forward our coastal economy.

“We are in early development of the Community Wealth Building project and hope to have a plan ready in the coming months.

“This is an exciting project and we are looking forward to working with businesses and community organisations across Thanet to support the district’s economic growth and sense of community.”


  1. I’ve noticed that over the last three months my bank account has gone up month by month, quite a lot. This is obviously money that I haven’t been spending during “lockdown”, mostly in Ramsgate.
    So my post CV resolution is to spend a good part of my unexpected bounty in local Ramsgate and Thanet enterprises.
    Hovelling Boat

  2. You have the wrong ideas here, you need to reassess the situation.

    If I visit the supermarkets, I am able to buy raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, and a whole range of fruit and veg, that comes from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Kenya, Cameroon etc, all far cheaper than the crops that are grown just two miles away.

      • Some of the poorest, and lowest paid people, have no choice, but to shop for the cheapest products, which will sustain the larger supermarkets.

        Thanet towns, as with all towns, are losing the smaller family run stores, butcher’s, bakers, grocers, party due to high rent and rates, parking difficulties, and parking expense, lack of trade caused by other stores around them closing. Furthermore, the lower cost, and greater choice of goods, at out-of-town superstores, along with free parking, and ability to obtain almost anything under one roof, so not affected by the weather.

        • Those of us who can should choose locally-grown produce. And perhaps more people should choose to eat food according to its natural local time of ripening.

          Aviation needs to be drastically reduced.

  3. If people shop local then they have to pay for parking if they can find a parking space. Then when shopping if they buy a lot of items then there are no carts to put the shopping in so one has to lug it back to the car. Hence to supermarkets
    Free parking and carts and cheaper goods.

    • There still are buses. You don’t have to drive everywhere. I actually walk into town in order to “shop local”
      Where there’s a will, eh?
      And pist Brexit, there won’t be any Spanish, Portuguese or Italian foodstuffs, will there?

  4. I have heard of the “Preston model” based on the policies of the Labour council of Preston, Lancs.
    A commitment to “buy local” and to give contracts to local firms in order that Council money can be used as much as possible to help the local economy and population.
    A good approach.
    But I worry that it might be abused and would need to be monitored very closely. After all, there are plenty of Councils round the country that give contracts to local firms and the voters can never actually prove that the local firm is being chosen because the owners and some of the local councillors are members of the same organisation. OR the council buys goods and services from a local supplier and , again, the local supplies company might just be owned by someone who knows some of the local councillors.
    This would be more likely in very small towns where there are a limited number of companies providing certain goods and services and , so, the Councillors are able to state, in open council, that they really only have , say, Bloggs and Sons, as the best local option. And that they should really only use their usual solicitors, Grabbit & Co, as they always do. And that they have always had a good estimate from Gerry Bilt, the local builder who always knows what the Council wants etc etc.
    Getting a bit “Party political” here but I suspect that Tory councils are likely to act this way more than Labour ones because Tory councillors are more likely to move in the same business circles as the local company owners. The local Chamber of Commerce, say, or the Freemasons, or the Rotary Club or Golf Club or, indeed, the local Tory Party.
    This would not be actual, “wadges of used notes in a brown envelope passed under the table” type of corruption. Far from it, all individuals may well be well-off already. But it would reflect an accepted practice of each looking after the interests of the other, making a point of speaking up for a given firm, arguing for contracts to go to one or two chosen companies. Like I say, this is not due to bribery etc. This is a local class of individuals looking after each other and making sure that they boost each others business interests.
    So, I say that I support this initiative by TDC as it is being led by Labour councillors. But they have to constantly double-check who is getting the work, and who is being employed too often as the surveyor, or the valuer,or the solicitor.
    And if the Tories get back into a major position of power in the council, watch out!!!

    • how can we still have the same councillors and officers who did not do checks on gas safety certificates and unsafe lifts and gave away millions to that woman director even though it was an alms length project the directors and some are labour councillors if you look at the company
      Money on local estate agents who launder money offshore that is way too good for TDC officers CEO and that Waite rubbish who pass any criminal over to us taxpayers the ferry debt animal rights compensation and the police involvement in checking out ERDF funds one which recieved £67k and labour wiped it off for the ex councillor
      dreamland offshore leaks
      nayland rock
      every sodding thing and you say that TDC are a good thing

  5. Readers might be interested to note that Thanet Council’s last “Procurement Strategy” (introduced by the Labour members in 2014 and freely available to view online) introduced this clause:

    …. Packaging contracts in a manner, where possible, that considers local suppliers, community and voluntary organisations…..

    The announcement from Councillor Yates is nothing new. Just a rehash of what was introduced and then didn’t happen before by his party. Why should anyone believe it will be different this time ? They will get a few months in and then realise it costs far more to work with local suppliers then quietly give up on the idea.

  6. A positive move by TDC councillors, a rare treat to have them doing the right thing, sadly the paid officers are still pulling the strings and the democratic deficit of the CEO being in charge instead of the elected councillors leaves residents cheated.

    • I would like to hear more from John L Gibson about “paid officers….pulling strings” and the “democratic deficit of the CEO being in charge instead of the elected councillors”.
      I think I agree. It seems that, whoever gets elected in Thanet, the same struggle to improve things ensues. I don’t doubt the commitment of Labour councillors to improve our area and our lives. But , somehow, trying to get things done just seems exhausting. Sensible policies are blocked, or watered down.
      We need a full description of how this works.
      Might “Isle of Thanet News” ask Mr Gibson for an article outlining just how the TDC functions and how we voters THINK we are supporting the policies that will bring about change, only to find that the Council still seems to struggle to get anything done.

      • Hi Keefogs

        If you need any advice, I could recommend the following, all highly regarded at TDC

        Cyril Hoser.

        Jonathon Aitken.

        Sandy Ezekeail.

  7. Buying local is obvious to support the local community and often gives the possibility to buy more healthy fresh food. Much more promotion needs to be done on this. To the negative mob, you can park at Quex Barn in Quex Park or in streets of Cliftonville for KG Winters or the Grain Grocer. You can get wonderful chemical free fruit and veg from the Windmill Community Gardens project. Local bakers like Gina’s Bakery and Modern Provider are just two examples, and most of these businesses have being doing home deliveries in these times. Thanet has many other similar examples including projects such as The Kitchen. It’s a good immune system that protects you from illness, and nutrition is key to that. And positivity is a big booster as well! It’s how we used to shop before the big supermarkets got their stranglehold on the market and forced the farmers into unfair pricing.

  8. Some excellent points above, but I’d like to add two things:

    (a) Acol, Monkton, Sarre, Manston, Cliffsend … so many villages have lost their only shop, forcing people into their cars or on buses. Perhaps a long-term plan on both a local and national level would be to encourage struggling pubs to convert part of their premises into a post office/store, even if it’s just a couple of days per week?

    (b) Why don’t Thanet Earth sell to customers direct?!

  9. Buses are fine if there are enough of them and their timetable is reliable.

    The private car is one of the most anti-social inventions ever to spread through everyday life. No matter what it was intended for, it has devastated towns and cities as well as the countryside. Not to mention people’s health.

    • Yes, buses are fine (I don’t drive, so I use buses and trains frequently). However, people in large villages shouldn’t HAVE to travel elsewhere for simple things like bread and milk.

      I was in Tilmanstone recently, a beautiful old village. Unfortunately they no longer have any shops or pubs, and the bus service has been reduced to one a day! Disgraceful in these so called more “green” aware times.

  10. It certainly is disgraceful. But it’s a vicious circle. People with cars don’t often seem aware of the damage their car use causes, and the running-down of public transport is usually only noticed by those directly affected by it.

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