BOLTON is set to benefit from a "groundbreaking" agreement with online retailer Amazon worth £400m.

Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO), which is partly owned by Bolton Council, has signed a four-year contract with Amazon Business.

The deal, the first of its kind in the sector, allows public bodies across the UK to gain access to Amazon Business' products while the council earns an income for the public purse.

A percentage of each sale will be given back to the 13 local authorities which own YPO, the largest public sector buying organisation in the country.

Managing director Simon Hill said the deal offers "brand new benefits" for its customers.

He said: "The demand for innovative ways to buy better is one of the highest priorities for public sector organisations and our new framework agreement represents a forward-thinking approach to public sector purchasing."

Since 1974, YPO has provided goods and services to public sector organisations – mainly to schools, other education establishments and councils.

This is done through public tenders which provide full compliance with public procurement regulations.

Online marketplace Amazon Business provides access to hundreds of millions of products, including from tens of thousands of smaller independent suppliers from across the UK.

YPO customers will be directed to Amazon Business where they can set up their account and use a framework to buy products YPO currently does not sell.

The company assures customers that these products will be supplied via a compliant purchasing route.

Following the new public sector framework which launched yesterday YPO will continue to sell its products from its warehouse or directly from suppliers, working with small and local businesses in the same way.

Mr Hill added: “Our recent customer survey showed that 80 per cent of our customers already use Amazon so this will give them an opportunity to complete their list of requirements through YPO, without fragmenting their spend and threatening the 'one-stop-shop’ proposition.

“YPO will continue to sell its 30,000 products but many more business-related products will now be available, everything from agricultural supplies to medical equipment.

"Customers will also benefit from an enhanced offer in terms of value as well as service, such as competitive prices and delivery accessed through a single YPO route.”