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Council encouraging people to shop local has spent thousands online at Tesco and Amazon

PUBLISHED: 08:34 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:37 14 April 2018

Shopappy.com app launched in Swaffham. Leader of Breckland Council, William Nunn.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Shopappy.com app launched in Swaffham. Leader of Breckland Council, William Nunn. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A council which has launched a scheme to protect local business has been told it ought to practice what it is preaching, as it has been revealed it heavily relies on major brands itself.

Terry Jermy, Labour candidate for Thetford West. Pic: Labour Party. Terry Jermy, Labour candidate for Thetford West. Pic: Labour Party.

Card transactions published on Breckland Council’s website have revealed in the past few months it has made dozens of online purchases through multi-national firms such as Amazon and Tesco.

It comes as the council launches ShopAppy, a project creating a ‘digital high street’ allowing shoppers to browse and buy from local shops online.

A freedom of information request though has revealed that in the past year, Breckland Council has spent close to £10,000 at Amazon.com and an additional £5,119 at Tesco.com.

In February alone, the council made 25 purchases from the online retailer, spending more than £1,000 on items including £2.91 on buying cable ties.

These concerns were raised at the authority’s full council meeting by Labour Group leader Terry Jermy.

He said: “As a council we have huge spending power and we need to make sure we give due consideration to using local supplies whenever possible through a local procurement policy.

“The council recently launched its ShopAppy scheme to encourage residents to purchase from local retailers - we need to lead by example as well.”

Mr Jermy said after raising his question that council leader William Nunn has pledged to looking into local procurement policy.

He added: “I’m hoping raising this question will spur a bit of a culture change in the council.

“They have pledged to look into it though, so progress is being made.”

A spokesman for Breckland Council said: “As a council we aim to use local traders whenever they can supply what we need at a competitive price, as we are also mindful of making efficient use of taxpayers’ money.

“This was discussed at a recent council meeting and it was agreed the council would review its procurements to ensure this approach is being followed across the organisation going forward.”

The ShopAppy service was launched yesterday in Swaffham, the first service of its kind outside of Yorkshire, where its developer is based.

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