THE OFFICE of Government Commerce has defended plans to use e-auctions for materials under its £1 billion Commodities Framework after criticism from builders' merchants.
The Government spending watchdog's drive to save up to 30 per cent by buying directly from manufacturers has caused concern in the sector.
Peter Wooliscroft, who works in the OGC's construction and FM efficiency division, said: 'We want to work with builders' merchants and manufacturers over getting the best deal for the client. We have never been talking about cutting anybody out.
'We would welcome the opportunity for the merchants to tell us how they would bring more efficiency. We are responsible for spending taxpayers' money and we have to do that as wisely as possible.'
The Builders Merchants Federation added its voice to the criticism this week.
Chairman Kevin Cubbage said: 'The OGC plans fail to take into account the two key benefits that builders, contractors and plumbers gain from dealing with good builders' merchants.
'There is the all-important product knowledge and the timely deliveries of relatively small amounts of material necessary for restricted site access and on-site working.'