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Whinge, moan, gripe

Evesham cries foul over 'PCs for MPs' deal

Evesham is angry that the government 'snubbed' British computer firms by awarding Compaq a prestigious contract to supply PCs to MPs. But Evesham is whistling in the wind as the Inland Revenue gave the contract to big IT contractor and consulant Computacenter, which simply has Compaq is its supplier.

Evesham's managing director Richard Austin [pictured] criticised the government on Friday for excluding UK firms from bidding for the £2m deal to supply three PCs and a laptop to each MP in the House of Commons.

The company's complaint is being backed by its local MP Peter Luff, Conservative MP for Mid-Worcestershire, who raised the issue in the House of Commons in July.

"We're annoyed the contract has gone to an American company that has moved many of its former UK assembly operations to the Czech Republic," said Austin.

Local MP Peter Luff said in the House of Commons that it was "scandalous" that Evesham had not been invited to pitch for the contract. He added: "I think that all other manufacturers were also excluded [from bidding for the deal]."

But it appears that Evesham missed the advertising of the contract, probably because it wasn't promoted as simply a tender for hundreds of PCs.

A spokesman for the Inland Revenue said the contract was advertised in the Journal of the European Communities as part of a larger deal in September 1999 — in line with legislation on open competition. The contract was awarded to corporate computer provider Computacenter on 28 April 2000.

The E-IROS framework deal covers a number of different individual arrangements. Computacenter won the contract to handle the ordering of computer equipment for various government departments. It has chosen Compaq as primary supplier for the provision of computers to MPs, one of the provision deals within its contract.

Matthew Taylor, director of communications for the House of Commons confirmed that Compaq was one of the major suppliers of equipment under the deal. MPs will also receive two printers and a backup device each, but Taylor would not say which companies were supplying these.

Taylor said that the scheme would take the burden of buying computer equipment away from MPs. He also said that easier network compatibility was a major reason for the deal.

Compaq was not available for comment.


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