Alan Sugar: “Buy British computers!”

"I can't for the life of me understand why our government, past and present, doesn't instil some kind of patriotism in the people responsible for dishing out orders for departments and local councils," said Sugar, who owns British computer manufacturer Viglen.

"My company, Viglen, was established over 20 years ago and is now one of a few PC assemblers left in the UK," said the Amstrad founder. "It employs 200 people and for some reason does not get a real look in."

Sugar, who bought Viglen back in the 1990s, resigned from its board after becoming Enterprise Champion last year, claiming that the office could represent a conflict of interest. Two months before his appointment to government in July 2009, Viglen won an Office of Government Commerce contract worth around £30m to supply public sector organisations with 70,000 PCs. Since that time, however, the orders have trailed off.

"Walk around any government office and the place is littered with Dell, HP or Siemens Fujitsu PCs," he said.

Sugar advises Cameron et al to emulate the purchasing decisions of European governments. "Walk around a French government office, they are littered with Sagem and Alcatel equipment," he wrote. "Those makes are not world renowned for PC's [sic] but they are FRENCH. Our French cousins have it right they know the EU Laws as well as we do. But it's in their blood, in their ethos, in their bones, that they support their own and that is what we lack in the UK."

Sugar pooh-poohs any suggestion that the decision to buy foreign hardware has anything to do with quality. "There is no such thing as a good or bad desktop PC these days," he said. "The truth is they are all the same just with a different front panel and name, they all have the same Intel motherboard and core chip and the hard drives are almost certainly made by the same people."

The Viglen boss added that if the government paid just a little over the odds per computer, it would allow him to hire up to 250 additional workers. "Lets face it, if I take another 250 people out of benefits, even with the government paying £2 more per PC, it's a damn sight cheaper than paying for 250 people on benefits," said Lord Sugar. "It gives those people not only secure employment but dignity. Young people are knocking on my door every day who want to get in IT business and want to learn about technology and computers. I have to turn these kids away we simply don't have the work."

Lord Sugar also made a final plea to all businesses to consider buying British, above and beyond technology purchases. "If you know people responsible for purchasing or selection in IT in government or large corporate departments then urge them to think patriotically and to buy from BRITISH suppliers," he said.

You can read Lord Sugar's plea to government, in its entirety, on Facebook


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