Fleur Anderson Demands Refund on Alleged Crony PPE Contracts

Contrasts poor quality with scrubs handmade by Putney volunteers

Payments to Lady Mone from PPE contracts are being reviewed. Picture: BBC


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December 9, 2022

Fleur Anderson is adding to the pressure being put in the government over contracts that were awarded during the Covid-19 outbreak.

She has demanded that the taxpayer be refunded money paid for PPE which she claims were given to cronies of senior Conservatives.

Attention is increasingly focused on a contract worth more than £200m given to a company linked to Conservative peer Michelle Mone.

25 million gowns were purchased that were not up to standard and unusable. The Government had since been paying £700,000 every day to store faulty PPE in the UK and China.

Ms Anderson says the government must release documents relating to the award of government PPE contracts.

She commented, “The Government may think the public have forgotten about the numerous scandals during the Covid pandemic. We haven’t. Whilst we locked down as instructed, Conservatives were partying, breaking the rules that they made and are now alleged to have handed out huge contracts to their mates.

“Meanwhile, volunteers in Putney were stepping up – spending hours handmaking scrubs whilst the Government failed us. The Government must now release the documents involved in order that we can properly scrutinise what has happened and clarify whether the public have been ripped off by this Government yet again.”

In May 2020, the Department of Health struck an £81 million deal with PPE Medpro to supply 210 million IIR face masks at 38.5p a unit, despite the same masks manufactured by the same company being provided by other suppliers in the same period for as little as 14.5p.

A £122 million contract to supply 25 million gowns was awarded in June 2020, but the gowns were rejected after a technical inspection and never used.

Documents seen by the Guardian revealed £29 million of PPE Medpro’s profits were later transferred to an Isle of Man trust, of which Conservative peer Baroness Mone and her adult children were the beneficiaries.

Fleur Anderson MP continued, “£12.6 billion pounds was spent in total on PPE. £8 billion pounds of this was written off. £4 billion of this was not up to standard and unusable. The waste of public money is staggering, but it’s not just that – the public needs to have faith in those who govern us. The recklessness shown here with taxpayer money is unacceptable.”

The Labour Party also demanded that the Prime Minister commit to supporting Labour’s amendments to the Procurement Bill when it comes to the Commons in the New Year.

Loopholes included in the Government’s proposed legislation will make it easier for ministers to bypass existing rules for the award of taxpayers’ money in contracts.

The Bill stands to allow procurement decisions made without competitive procedures by the personal decision of ministers, cementing into law the controversial ‘VIP lane’ that saw £1.7 billion of public money dished out and was declared illegal by the High Court earlier this year. The Government had previously denied the existence of the channel.

During the Lords stages of the Bill, the government was defeated on five of the six amendments that were put to a vote, but in a division that saw the highest turnout of Tory peers, blocked attempts to ban VIP lanes for direct award in procurement.

The government has defended its actions during the pandemic saying that changes to existing procedures were necessary given the unprecedented scale of the crisis and that it was necessary to turn to a wider range of suppliers who were able to fulfil orders at short notice.

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