SHARON HODGSON: The Government must bring back competitive tendering

You would think that jobs for the boys would be a thing of the past, but the Conservative Party have gone one step further and used the Coronavirus pandemic as a business opportunity to further line the pockets of their mates.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:02 am
The Conservative Government have handed out almost £2 billion worth of taxpayers’ money for Covid contracts to friends and donors.
The Conservative Government have handed out almost £2 billion worth of taxpayers’ money for Covid contracts to friends and donors.

The Conservative Government have handed out almost £2 billion worth of taxpayers money for Covid contracts to friends and donors.

The most baffling of all being the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock’s former neighbour and pub landlord, supplying the Government with Covid-19 test parts, despite having no previous medical experience. The firm is now being investigated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.

The High Court ruled last month that the Health Secretary had acted unlawfully on transparency and failed to publish contracts on time.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

But Matt Hancock has been quick to shrug this ruling off. Not only has he declared there was no foul play, he’s also tried to re-write history.

It isn’t even a year since we saw frontline workers on the news every day saying they were scared to go to work because they didn’t have the correct PPE. We saw images of our nurses and doctors using bin bags to protect themselves and issuing emotional pleas and warnings to the Government.

In response, the Government paid a pest control firm £59 million for 25 million facemasks, a hedge fund based in Mauritius £252 million for facemasks and paid a jeweller in Florida £70 million for gowns. None of these could be used.

Matt Hancock doesn’t remember that awful and desperate time and is keen that you forget about it too, but out of respect for our keyworkers on the frontline and the hundreds of NHS staff who died, we must ensure that we don’t forget or allow them to re-write history.

The Government must wind down its emergency procurement powers, reintroduce competitive tender and claw back the money on contracts that haven’t delivered.

In Government, Labour is committed to making the UK a world leader in transparency again by introducing an Independent Anti-Corruption Commissioner.

Contracts for cronies will be a thing of the past under a Labour Government.