Another £6BILLION of PPE and Covid tests down the drain: Critics slam £14.9bn of ‘extraordinary waste’ on overpriced, faulty or unused pandemic-era equipment
- DHSC has lost £14.9billion on over-priced, faulty or unused PPE, tests and drugs
- Labour MPs described the financial blackhole an ‘absolute scandal’
- Lots of Covid kit bought in 2020/21 was faulty or not used before its sell-by date
Another £6billion of taxpayer cash was ‘wasted’ on Covid-era equipment last year, it was revealed today.
It means the Department of Health has now lost £14.9billion on over-priced, faulty or unused PPE, tests and drugs since the pandemic began.
Labour MPs today described the financial blackhole as being ‘extraordinary’ and an ‘absolute scandal’.
Much of the coronavirus kit bought during 2020/21 — when £8.9bn was written off — was faulty or not used before its sell-by date.
The Department of Health has now lost £14.9billion on over-priced, faulty or unused PPE, tests and drugs since the pandemic began. Pictured: A nurse at King’s College Hospital in London puts on full protective equipment
Much of the Covid kit bought during 2020/21 was faulty or not used before its sell-by date. Ministers also paid hugely over the odds and were left with equipment that later crashed in value. Pictured: PPE-wearing medics treating patients in January 2021
Last year, officials revealed redundant PPE was being burned at a rate of 580 lorry loads per month. Pictured: Supplies at the NHS’ National Procurement Warehouse at Canderside, Larkhall in 2020
Ministers also paid hugely over the odds and were left with equipment which later crashed in value.
Annual accounts released today, covering 2021/22, reveal the majority of the wasted £6billion cash last year was blown on buying goods that are no longer needed.
Wes Streeting, shadow health secretary, said: ‘The Conservatives can never again claim to be the careful stewards of the public finances.
‘While Rishi Sunak had control of the purse strings, a staggering £15billion of public money was wasted on useless PPE — enough to fund the police force for an entire year.
‘Instead, that money is now literally going up in smoke.
‘Taxpayers will rightly judge the carelessness with which the Conservatives treat their money to be an absolute scandal.’
Millions of items of PPE, including gowns, masks and gloves, are still being stored in warehouses and containers across the UK. Some stock is still in China, where it was manufactured.
Others are thought to have already been burnt to generate power.
Storing the excess PPE is thought to cost the Government around £24m a month.
Some kit procured at the start of the pandemic was faulty or never used before its sell-by date.
Other problems included failed quality tests, face masks ordered with the wrong loops and gowns that were the wrong size or sent in the wrong packaging.
How taxpayer cash was thrown away on dodgy PPE deals
Hedge fund’s masks ‘not tight enough’
Ayanda – £253m
Around 50million FFP2 masks produced by Ayanda, which won deals worth £253million, were not ultimately distributed as they had ear-loops rather than head-loops, meaning they were unlikely to fit tightly enough.
The company said it delivered according to its contract.
Miami jeweller’s gowns had to be suspended
Saiger LLC – £70m
The use of ten million gowns, imported via Miami-based jewellery designer Michael Saiger, was suspended because officials put the wrong packaging specifications on the contract.
Pest firm’s aprons were the ‘wrong size’
Pestfix – £350m
Officials are locked in a legal battle with Pestfix, a pest control company based in West Sussex, after a batch of tight-fitting FFP3 masks failed quality tests and six million aprons were rejected for use by the NHS because they were the wrong size.
The company delivered its batch of IIR masks, two million gloves and other products to the contracted standard.
The wasted RAF flight
Selegna – value unknown
At the height of the pandemic an RAF flight was sent to pick up a shipment of 400,000 Turkish gowns, supplied by Selegna, which turned out to be useless.
Baroness Bra in sleaze accusations
PPE Medpro – £203m
Tory peer Michelle Mone has been accused of using her position to help PPE Medpro win a £203million contract, despite her and her billionaire husband having close links to the company.
Case of PPE resold for £5
Clandeboye Agencies – £107.5m
A box of 250 items of PPE produced by Clandeboye Agencies, a sweet wholesaler based in Northern Ireland, cost the taxpayer £1,000 but was resold in an online auction for just £5.
Clandeboye insisted it delivered what was ordered at a competitive price.
The million-mask recall
Polyco Healthline – £56m
A million masks supplied by Polyco Healthline for intensive care wards had to be recalled because they did meet safety standards.
Polyco said the product ‘narrowly failed’ because tests were only conducted on men.
Hancock’s boost for furniture maker
Monarch Acoustics – £29m
Matt Hancock, then health secretary, made a series of recommendations to the ‘VIP lane’ for purchasing contracts including Monarch Acoustics, a furniture manufacturer.
The firm had just £41,000 in the bank before the pandemic, but its £29million PPE contract helped it increase profits by 4,700 per cent.
There are understood to have been no concerns raised about the quality of the products.
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