UK CONSULTANTS and contractors bidding for major jobs in mainland Europe are losing out to foreign competitors because of unscrupulous procurement procedures, a Treasury report published this week has revealed.
Major consultants and contractors including Arup, Mott MacDonald, Balfour Beatty and Carillion responded to Siemens chief executive Alan Wood's Treasury-instigated inquiry.
Wood found that even though single market rules govern the award of public contracts, UK firms are being sidelined.
There is evidence of a lack of commitment to international competition and market liberalisation in some key sectors - such as defence, energy and transportation, ' Wood reports.
Wood cites a litany of unfair practices, including examples of contracts being awarded to national suppliers even where foreign bidders offered better quality or price.
Other examples include contract requirements being shaped to suit a given national supplier;
pressure being applied to use local subcontractors; false competitions where there is no intention of awarding the contract to international bidders; and contracts being split to sidestep the EU requirement to advertise contracts in the Official Journal.