When Michael Fabricant tabled a simple question to each Government
department following a debate in the House of Commons on the closure of
Royal Doulton: "How much crockery, cutlery, and glassware bought by your
department over the last 5 years was of British manufacture?", the replies
"Some departments said they hadn’t the faintest idea, others claimed it is
illegal in the European Union to discriminate in favour of buying British,
while other departments – apparently breaking the law – said they had bought
British and gave the percentages to prove it" says Michael Fabricant. "The
Department of Culture Media and Sport, The Foreign Office, The Department of
International Development, and the Ministry of Defence all get good marks
for patriotism, but apparently break EU law.
"Meanwhile the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, The
Cabinet Office, The Leader of the House, and DTI all claimed that it is
illegal to specify British products. So no ‘Buy British’ policy there then.
"Meanwhile, The Treasury gave an honest answer: they said they just didn’t
"At a time when British manufacturing is in recession, it would have been
better had Government departments demonstrated a joined up approach and had
a strict ‘Buy British’ policy universally.
"I am sure the French buy French regardless of any EU regulations!"
Michael Fabricant is Shadow Minister for Industry.