View from the House: Taxpayers ‘deserve to know the truth’ when it comes to the purchase of virus PPE

Dawn Butler wants an investigation made into the purchase of unapproved PPE.

Dawn Butler wants an investigation made into the purchase of unapproved PPE. - Credit: Archant

The House of Commons is now back in session and, as a member of the Science and Technology committee, I am looking forward to continuing my examination of the government’s personal protective equipment (PPE) procurement.

What I have found so far has been deeply alarming.

At times the government’s PPE procurement has demonstrated staggering incompetence. In May it was found that all 400,000 gowns flown from Turkey for the NHS failed UK standards. But this was just the tip of the iceberg.

It has emerged that some of the companies that have been given contracts to supply PPE are obscure firms with limited capital, few or no staff and little or no trading history, and most shockingly no experience or prior involvement in delivering PPE.

It has been estimated that in total, contracts for PPE worth more than £180m were awarded to companies owned or run by Conservative Party supporters.

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Through my work I have examined some specific deals, some of which seem very suspect to me. I will not stop until we get answers.

When you consider that these government’s contracts have been often awarded to a single bidder without the normal competitive tendering process, this amounts to a national scandal.

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Moving forward we need to see full details of all contracts, reasons why they were given, and transparency over any links between companies and the government.

Crisis or not, we all deserve to know how our public money is spent. The public deserve to know the truth.

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