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UK govt slammed for sucking up to Compaq

Brit PC builders excluded from £2m contract

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The government is under attack for excluding British companies from a multi-million pound contract to dish out computers to MPs.

Under its latest IT scheme, the government has promised each Member of Parliament three PCs and one laptop.

And it has entered into a contract with US computer giant Compaq to provide all the computer equipment.

But, according to Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff, the contract - worth an estimated £2 million - was not put out to tender.

Luff says was told by Robin Cook that the deal with Compaq was instead decided upon "by a process of negotiation".

"I am sorry that Government Members do not think that public procurement should be conducted openly," said Luff.

"I believe MPs should support local industry in their constituencies." Luff normally buys his IT equipment from PC builder Evesham.com, which falls inside his constituency.

"The new arrangements will mean I am forced to use only those machines selected for me by the officers of the House of Commons, and I am very unhappy about this," he said.

Evesham boss Richard Austin was equally miffed that Compaq, which announced earlier this year it would axe 700 jobs in Scotland, should get the contract. "I can't understand why the government should have even considered doing a deal with an American company that has shown so little commitment to the UK," he said.

"British people have shown their confidence in us, so what is the government's excuse?" ®

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