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18-11-2020, 02:18 AM
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Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-54978460

The government was not transparent about suppliers and services when it scrambled to award £18,000,000,000 worth of Covid-19 contracts, the public spending watchdog has said.

The National Audit Office (NAO) found firms recommended by MPs, peers and ministers' offices were given priority.

It said there was inadequate explanation of key decisions, such as why particular suppliers were chosen.

Nor was enough done to address potential conflicts of interest.

Meg Hillier, chairwoman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, called for ministers to "come clean" and publish all information about the contracts awarded.

But while the government acknowledged it had procured services with "extreme urgency" due the crisis, it said it had "robust processes in place".

According to the NAO's report, more than 8,600 coronavirus contracts had been awarded by 31 July, ranging in value from less than £100 to £410m.

Of these, £10,500,000,000-worth were awarded directly without a competitive tender process, the report said.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) accounted for 80% of the number of contracts awarded.
One of the worst examples:

Ayanda Capital supplied 50 million masks that could not be used for their original purpose at a cost of £155m. The deal was brokered by a businessman who was an adviser (sic) to the government's Board of Trade at the time.
Cash for cronies .....
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18-11-2020, 06:48 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

It looks like the proverbial has hit the fan - most of the media are covering the issue, including:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-b1724458.html

Hundreds of firms were fast-tracked for lucrative Covid-19 contracts after tips from ministers and MPs as £18bn was handed out under emergency rules, a damning report reveals today.

The way procurement and transparency rules were ripped up in the scramble for equipment – with some deals secured by Conservative allies – is sharply criticised by the spending watchdog.

Its report confirms a secret “high-priority lane” for favoured firms, with at least 144 put forward from ministers’ private offices as MPs suggested “a possible manufacturer in their constituency”.

The source of more than half of the 493 recommendations has not been identified, of which 47 secured deals – and just 55 per cent of the 1,644 contracts worth more than £25,000 awarded up to the end of July have been published.
Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said the government failings uncovered were “likely to only be the tip of the iceberg”.

And Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, alleged: “The government may be deliberately attempting to cover their tracks, avoid scrutiny or withhold information from the public while wasting taxpayer money.”

Criticism of what has been dubbed a “cronyvirus” culture has grown – the latest revelation being a £21m handout to a Miami firm which acted as a go-between to secure NHS garments.
The controversy over "MPs' expenses" pales into insignificance when compared to the huge amounts of money paid to "Friends of the Party" .....
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18-11-2020, 09:46 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog



Of course what the UK should have done is not buy the stuff.
Let the NHS et al go without.
Wait longer until the stuff became even more scarce, difficult to source and expensive.



It's ridiculous!
Moan when there is none - and then moan when you buy some!
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18-11-2020, 10:54 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

During the pandemic, the shortage of PPE worldwide meant it was open season for anyone that had it.

If the left had their way we would still be doing risk assessments, having meetings and doing audits while everywhere in the country, people were dropping like flies.

The left can never be trusted to deliver in a time of national and international emergencies. All they have done is turn the pandemic into a means for political gain.
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18-11-2020, 11:24 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

Originally Posted by Bread ->
During the pandemic, the shortage of PPE worldwide meant it was open season for anyone that had it.

If the left had their way we would still be doing risk assessments, having meetings and doing audits while everywhere in the country, people were dropping like flies.

The left can never be trusted to deliver in a time of national and international emergencies. All they have done is turn the pandemic into a means for political gain.
All will be well now that Corbyn has been welcomed back into the fold!

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18-11-2020, 11:29 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

Originally Posted by Zaphod ->


Of course what the UK should have done is not buy the stuff.
Let the NHS et al go without.
Wait longer until the stuff became even more scarce, difficult to source and expensive.



It's ridiculous!
Moan when there is none - and then moan when you buy some!
Hopefully, at some later stage, we will have a good look at the way the Pharma Companies have managed all this.

The reports of tricks, in getting their product out first, and shady deals, are well worth a look.

They seem to hold all the cards, PPE, Vaccinations, everything!

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18-11-2020, 11:35 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

Originally Posted by Tedc ->
All will be well now that Corbyn has been welcomed back into the fold!

Ha ha - soon he will be the leader again. Like a true socialist and faced with failure, don't change anything, just give it another go.
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18-11-2020, 11:45 AM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

Originally Posted by Tedc ->
Hopefully, at some later stage, we will have a good look at the way the Pharma Companies have managed all this.

The reports of tricks, in getting their product out first, and shady deals, are well worth a look.

They seem to hold all the cards, PPE, Vaccinations, everything!

I absolutely agree!

Blaming the government for doing what needed doing though - at this stage where there are still difficulties unresolved - is surely counter-productive.
Split what resources we have because they must spend their time responding to criticism instead.


Our government aren't doing badly though IMHO - especially if you look at vaccines where the sums spent must be mindbending.
We have bought or arranged to purchase more than we could have as an EU member, since the EU wanted to do things centrally & they haven't made a deal with either Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna yet.
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18-11-2020, 12:04 PM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

Why were the government’s Covid contracts so badly mismanaged?

https://www.independent.co.uk/indepe...-b1724500.html

As the National Audit Office (NAO) report into the award of Covid-19 contracts suggests, the reasons for the apparent waste of billions of pounds and ignoring the usual rules about probity and value for money were twofold: panic and cronyism. One is perhaps understandable; the other rather less so. And the £18,000,000,000 of questionable contracts identified by the unimpeachable public sector auditors may not be the final sum total, given that consultants are still being employed and contracts remain open...

Where the politics bites is the closeness of some suppliers to Conservative politicians, as members of the governing party and with emergency powers to award contracts with minimal preparation. The problem is the lack of transparency, or even knowledge about how hundreds of wasteful contracts were awarded. The lack of documentation means there is no easy audit trail to follow back, so that retrospective assessment of executive decisions by ministers and officials may prove impossible in some cases. This is the likely scandal that will eventually emerge from the official inquiry, when it eventually starts work. What is clear now is that it was probably beyond amateurish for the government to ask MPs to suggest firms in their constituencies tender for public money in areas where they possessed zero expertise. MPs are not purchasing managers.

Meg Hillier, the chair of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said “It’s bad enough that it (the government) set up a ‘high-priority lane’ to fast-track companies with the right connections. But the failure to track how half the companies had ended up on it made it impossible to ensure proper safeguards were in place”.

Beyond the scope of this NAO study would be the £12,000,000,000 expended on developing a mass test and trace system, and the billions more on Treasury job protection schemes that were open to fraud, exploitation and in any case poorly targeted, such as the “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme. That one may actually have been counterproductive in public health terms by encouraging people to congregate indoors.
Cronyism and incompetency on a massive scale - pockets lined, fortunes made at the expense of the taxpayer .....
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18-11-2020, 12:15 PM
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Re: Government told to ‘come clean’ over Covid deals by spending watchdog

Originally Posted by Omah ->
Why were the government’s Covid contracts so badly mismanaged?
Cronyism and incompetency on a massive scale - pockets lined, fortunes made at the expense of the taxpayer .....
You really should stop believing the biased rubbish that appears in our media.


We actually managed to source PPE at a time of global shortage.
What panic existed was that promoted by the biased media in the first place - ergo the only logical conclusion is that it must all be the fault of the media.


This is from March and April:
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/u...-a9484941.html

https://www.who.int/news/item/03-03-...kers-worldwide


Should we instead have gone without?
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