its very easy to think whare money can be saved as long as its not your job or a family member thats thrown on the dole. even if the do the week things like buying the paper etc in bulk from viking direct but then people would moan that the council is not suporting local busines.
That's fine and well as long as local businesses who supply the council with goods/services, don't see those contracts as the goose that lays the golden egg, and hike the cost accordingly. In the very recent past at least it was very much an open secret in certain business circles that you could automatically add an additional percentage to your quote because it was a "cooncil job", and they'd buy it, as all your competitors would be doing the same, and you wouldn't be compromising your competitiveness any.
As regards stationery in particular, as it is what's being brought to question here. Why should the council support local business when their price is up to double what a comparative product is obtainable for elsewhere? Now, if you consider having the council squander your Council Tax money in such a way well worth it to keep local stationery/office supplies companies afloat, then so be it, it's your money, and you're entitled to your opinion as to how it's spent on your behalf. I do however object in the strongest possible terms to the council squandering my Council Tax money in such a way, as far as I'm concerned I entrust them to spend my Council Tax money as prudently as possible, by purchasing the most economical products/services for the job, and if they are not using the cheapest supplier that is available, they are most certainly not doing that. I have to purchase goods/services in this manner for my own personal use, it is the only way I can survive, it always has been, so why should I expect anything less from those whom I entrust the spending of my money on my behalf.
It could very well be argued that a local business, or any business, that cannot be competitive against their competitors, regardless of the location etc of those competitors, is no longer a viable business, and requires restructuring or closure. For the council to artifically help keep that business in existence by paying it inflated prices for the products/services it supplies, is effectively pouring a hidden public subsidy in to the pockets of a very few. Have we not had more than a gutful of public money disappearing that way of late, a slew of salmon enterprises, a floating dock, and whatever that debacle was at Rova Head a few years ago. All swallowed massive paychecks that were never recovered when the dust settled. Do we want any more public funds heading the same way, be it as overt lump sums or as a steady covert trickle.