Coronavirus: Conservative councillor PPE contracts questioned

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The federal government has spent £15bn on protecting gear for medical and care staff

The federal government is beneath strain to overview its private protecting gear (PPE) offers after a Tory councillor obtained main contracts.

The councillor’s firm, P14 Medical, was given contracts to produce face shields value £120m in complete.

Labour stated the federal government had “critical questions” to reply concerning the PPE procurement course of.

No 10 stated the Division of Well being and Social Care “works carefully with the Treasury to make sure worth for cash”.

The prime minister’s official spokesman stated demand for PPE had been going up however the DHSC “could have labored with the Treasury on spending circumstances”.

Requested what safeguards have been in place the place firms have been run by Conservative Occasion members, he stated: “All contracts will likely be revealed by DHSC and their worth.”

The federal government has spent £15bn on PPE because the coronavirus pandemic started, in response to a Treasury assertion earlier this week.

Of this, the small print of PPE contracts value £1.5bn have been revealed on the federal government’s web site.

Third largest contract

In responding to the coronavirus disaster, the federal government has forgone the tendering course of beneath which contracts are often handed out.

As an alternative, it has tended to make use of an emergency process, during which contracts are handed on to firms with out competitors.

P14 Medical, primarily based in Stroud, Gloucestershire, was awarded two contracts value a complete of £120m to produce PPE to the Division of Well being and Social Care (DHSC).

The deal was the third largest PPE contract awarded by the DHSC that has been revealed thus far.

Steve Dechan, the director of P14 Medical, is a Conservative councillor on Stroud City Council and campaigned for the native MP Siobhan Baillie on the 2019 election.

The corporate, a specialist in ache administration applied sciences, was handed the contracts regardless of recording vital losses in 2019.


P14 instructed the Monetary Occasions the losses have been owing to heavy funding in new continual ache expertise that it plans to market in Europe and the Center East this summer time.

It stated it had saved the federal government £55m on its face protect contracts, which had been accomplished “forward of time and on finances”.

The contracts have been awarded on to the corporate and not using a aggressive tendering course of.

In an e mail, Mr Dechan instructed the BBC: “We’re an skilled firm that has been in medical provides for eight years together with PPE that has managed to ship on an enormous contract that the ‘massive firms’ couldn’t.

“I solely know a pair MPs by way of native campaigning on points, solely met ministers (no present ones) on [general election] marketing campaign trails. By no means mentioned PPE.”

He added: “We’re so proud that we stood up and in contrast to many bought it performed and guarded our prospects.”

Labour shadow well being minister Justin Madders stated the contracts awarded to P14 Medical raised questions on transparency.

“On the face of it this firm’s connections to the Conservative Occasion seem like stronger than their expertise in delivering PPE.

“Severe questions must be requested about how they managed to acquire such a profitable contract with none monitor document to talk of.

“Ministers have to undertake complete transparency and launch all particulars of how these contracts have been awarded.

“There’s greater than a sniff of contracts being awarded on the idea of who , which may solely be answered by the federal government coming clear on the method they adopted.”

‘Due diligence’

Questions have additionally been raised about massive contracts awarded to different small companies with restricted expertise of supplying PPE.

Campaigners are in search of a judicial overview into the award of a £32m contract to PestFix Ltd, a pest management firm in Sussex.

In a press release, the Division for Well being and Social Care stated: “We’ve got been working across the clock to ship PPE to guard individuals on the frontline throughout this world pandemic.

“Nearly 28 billion objects of PPE have been ordered from UK-based producers and worldwide companions to offer a steady provide over the approaching months.

“We’ve got a strong course of to make sure orders are of high-quality normal and meet industrial due diligence.”

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