Category Archives: Contracts

Government plans to burn unused & unusable PPE – destroying the evidence?

This image never gets tired: the kind of “PPE” initially used by UK NHS staff is shown at bottom right.

Do you think it’s an accident that the Tory government is planning to destroy billions of pounds worth of Personal Protective Equipment it bought during the Covid-19 crisis, that proved to be unusable?

Of £12 billion the Department of Health (DoH – perhaps to be pronounced “D’oh!” in resemblance of Homer Simpson’s catchprhase whenever he does something idiotic) spent on PPE during the crisis, £8.7 billion had to be written off, including £4 billion because the equipment, including masks and gowns, did not meet NHS standards, was defective or not needed.

This was the time of Matt Hancock’s “VIP lane” procurement system that prioritised Tory friends and donors with no experience of providing medical equipment over firms of seasoned professionals. 24 per cent of the PPE contracts awarded are now in dispute.

Not only that but, in defiance of the government’s own pandemic plan, Boris Johnson had allowed supplies of protective equipment to dwindle before the pandemic struck. It was supposed to be possible to replenish them with “just in time” supplier contracts, but Johnson waited until too late to call them in; the (mostly Chinese) suppliers were already swamped by demand from their own health service and elsewhere.

Worse, he actually sent 1,800 pairs of goggles and 43,000 disposable gloves, 194,000 sanitising wipes, 37,500 medical gowns and 2,500 face masks – 278,800 items in total – to China, five days before NHS chiefs warned a lack of PPE left the health service facing a “nightmare”.

And now the DoH is planning to burn public money – literally – by incinerating the unusable equipment in order to generate power. It has not explained what the environmental impact of this plan will be.

Doesn’t it seem that the Tories are trying to destroy the evidence of their Covid-19 PPE mismanagement, before an inquiry into it is launched?

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Government department cancels P&O contract over mass sackings

Moored: P&O ferries were subjected to safety checks – which many failed – after foreign agency workers on less than the minimum wage were hired to replace illegally-sacked UK staff.

It’s extremely rare that This Site gets to praise the government for doing something right.

So let’s give credit where it’s due to the civil servants at the Home Office and Department of Transport, who have cancelled a contract with P&O Ferries over the company’s decision to sack around 800 UK-based employees and replace them with agency workers from abroad, paid less than the minimum wage.

Border Force has terminated its agreement with P&O to provide contingency travel services to juxtaposed ports – UK border controls set up in Calais, Dunkirk and some railway stations in France and Belgium, where goods and passengers are checked ahead of travel.

The contract was to transport border staff to northern France if there was a problem at the Channel Tunnel and was the DoT’s only deal with P&O.

But the government has also awarded P&O’s owner, DP World, contracts to run two so-called Free Ports. Some of us have been waiting for those contracts to be cancelled ever since the unannounced (and therefore illegal) mass sackings happened in March.

If all contracts with this rogue company and its parent aren’t killed, then the Tories are effectively supporting the illegal removal of UK workers from their jobs.

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Tories review all contracts with P&O Ferries and DP World over 800 axed jobs

Amazingly, the UK’s Conservative government is actually doing the right thing – so far!

The government is reviewing all its contracts with both P&O Ferries and parent company DP World after the shock firings of 800 staff over Zoom – exactly as This Site demanded over the weekend.

I didn’t believe a Tory government would actually do it. Even though it hasn’t happened yet, I am forced to applaud Grant Shapps (Transport Secretary) for putting the contracts at risk:

“For our part we’re reviewing all Government contracts with P&O Ferries as a matter of urgency and with DP World and, where possible, we’re looking to use other providers if indeed there are any contracts where the UK Government is involved; I believe at this point that they have been historic in nature rather than current,” Shapps said.

Not only that, but Shapps went further. He said the companies could face criminal prosecution and unlimited fines:

“It’s been quite clear that it’s been handled by the company absolutely disastrously, which is why we’ve asked the Insolvency Service to look at the notification requirements and consider if further action is appropriate – especially if, as we’re concerned, the relevant notice periods weren’t given, the relative consultation didn’t take place,” Shapps said.

“And I can inform the House that that would be a matter for criminal prosecution and unlimited fines as well,” he added.

And he said he was taking steps to remove the companies from influencing UK maritime affairs:

“We’re considering further steps we can take to remove P&O Ferries’ influence from British maritime, including positions on any advisory boards because again I don’t want to see that company, with the way the management has behaved, advising the way that British maritime is shaped and rolls out.”

Safety checks have been ordered on P&O ships – and they will be blocked from sailing if they fail.

And there are concerns that new agency workers from India are being paid just £1.80 per hour, although P&O has said this is not true.

Source: Transport secretary urges P&O Ferries to repair damages or face ‘unlimited fines’ over shock sackings – upday News UK

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Things we’re not likely to see: Tories cancelling P&O owners Free Ports contract

Moored: P&O ferries – and contracts offered to the firm’s operator, DP World – should be mothballed until reparations are made to the 800 workers they have wronged.

Remember This Site’s article on March 19, where I stated that any UK business in a position to do so should find a way to penalise P&O ferries’ owner DP World for the sacking without notice of 800 UK-based employees?

I should have included the government, of course – and isn’t it providential that the UK’s Tory government has awarded DP World two contracts to run Free Ports. On that subject, This Writer agrees with David Osland, below:

Any organisation that treats the people of the UK with contempt should not receive financial rewards of any kind from the UK government. That should be among the most basic conditions of forming a government.

Tory-voting ex-employees of P&O may have been surprised to see their struggle being spearheaded, not by Boris Johnson, but by Jeremy Corbyn:

His argument is a good one. So next week we should see the UK’s Tory government cancelling these two contracts – right?

Well, maybe not. This government runs on greed, and we don’t know what, if anything, was offered to ministers in return for these “lucrative” deals.

So: don’t hold your breath waiting.

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Will Tories sanction the Russian-owned firm that created Downing Street TV studio?

The never-used government TV briefing room: it has seen some action with internal Downing Street meetings but let’s face it – the vacuum cleaner (that I clipped from this image) has seen more use.

This is well worth resurrecting:

It was alleged last year that the £2.6 million studio created for White House-style Downing Street TV briefings was kitted out by a Russian firm called Megahertz.

Work done by the company included installing computers, cameras, microphones and a control desk.

I seem to recall writing on This Site last year that we don’t know what software extras might have been built into this studio, for the benefit of very serious people in Moscow.

But the question for now is simply this:

Has full payment been made for this work? If not, will it be withheld?

And will the firm suffer sanctions and be denied future government work?

Source: Exclusive: Russian-Owned Firm Played Key Role In Downing Street Media Refit | HuffPost UK Politics

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Tory dunce Williamson is latest MP accused of PPE corruption

Gavin Williamson: an artist’s impression of the suspect.

Gavin Williamson used to be Education Secretary before his many stupidities forced Boris Johnson to dump him onto the backbenches.

He had nothing to do with Covid-19 as part of his job.

So what possible reason could he have had for pushing Technicare onto the infamous ‘VIP lane’ for PPE contracts?

And – worse – why did current ministers at the Department for Health and Social Care leave his name off a list of ministers and MPs who referred companies to the VIP lane used to fast-track firms with links to ministers, MPs and officials?

His involvement was revealed after the government – quietly – updated its list to include Technicare, trading as Blyth Group Ltd – and revealed for the first time that Mr Williamson had referred them.

Does it seem to you that somebody in a high place was trying to pull the wool over our eyes – hide the ex-minister’s involvement in unlawful behaviour?

The Government’s use of the ‘VIP lane’ was ruled unlawful by the High Court last month, following a legal challenge brought by the Good Law Project and campaign group EveryDoctor.

If this stuff had been any good, it might not have been quite so bad. But…

At least 51 firms are understood to have been handed more than £4 billion worth of PPE contracts – all without competition – after being referred to the VIP lane.

DHSC documents show £673m worth of PPE purchased by the government – some of which was obtained through the VIP lane – was not suitable for use in health settings.

A further £750m worth of PPE and equipment was not used before its expiry date.

Williamson’s name joins those of Michael Gove, Matt Hancock and Grant Shapps among the 48 people or groups who referred companies to the fast track.

Some of the firms that won contracts and failed to fulfil them took cash from organisations with proven track records – thereby endangering citizens of the UK.

Because of that, these MPs should face a serious penalty for having used a secret system to boost amateurs over professionals.

But we live in the age of “one rule for us and no rule for them”. Will there be any justice at all?

Source: Gavin Williamson referred firm for £1.7m ‘VIP lane’ PPE deal, ministers admit – Mirror Online

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#BorisJohnson #sleaze #scandal of the day: another MP with a second job

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions.

Boris Johnson is facing tricky questions again:

Apparently Winchester MP Stephen Brine repeatedly claimed on the public Register of Members’ Interests that he’d been given the green-light to take a £1,600-a-month job with Sigma Pharmaceuticals by a Parliamentary watchdog, just months after quitting as a Public Health minister in March 2019.

This was not true, it seems. And the company was given a Covid-19 contract worth £100,000 subsequently. Did Brine act as a lobbyist? Both he and the firm deny it. But they would, wouldn’t they?

And with corruption in government at an all-time high, it seems unlikely that we’ll get the facts, whether they’re innocent or not.

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#MattHancock is talking himself into a corner over his friend’s #Covid19 #contract

Matt Hancock and Alex Bourne: nothing to see here, according to the former Health Secretary.

I agree with Matt Thomas about this:

But to his words I would also add that misleading Parliament about such a contract should also carry an automatic penalty: expulsion.

It seems clear that Matt Hancock arranged a preferential deal for a Covid-19 contract with a company that acted as a ‘front’ for Alex Bourne, who used to run a pub close to Hancock’s constituency home in Suffolk.

Bourne has said he offered to supply the government with vials for Covid-19 tests via a WhatsApp message to Hancock. He ended up with a £40 million contract, despite having had no previous experience of providing medical supplies.

The contract was provided to a supplier already approved by the NHS – Alpha Pharmaceuticals, who then sub-contracted the work in its entirety to Bourne’s company Hinpack – apparently because Hancock’s Department of Health and Social Care had demanded it.

Hancock told Parliament that any suggestion Bourne’s firm had been favoured because of his connection with the then-Health Secretary was a smear (as it implies corruption). He said: “I have heard this point about this pub landlord and I just want to tell her and the House, and put it formally on the record, and after this I hope the Labour party will also stop this slur, that the man in question never got nor applied for a contract from the government or the NHS at all. It is a fabrication pushed by the Labour party. It’s a load of rubbish.”

He added: “Of course, the Department of Health and the NHS does not have a say in sub-contracting arrangements.”

But the government did know that the work was being sub-contracted to Hancock’s company because it was written into Alpha’s contract. We have no reason to believe that Alpha, which is based in Harrow, Middlesex, had any knowledge of Hinpack prior to the awarding of this contract.

It seems clear that the contract was constructed carefully in order to put distance between Hancock and his acquaintance, although information has emerged proving that Hancock, as Health Secretary, had personally referred Bourne on to a government official.

His claim that he did not corruptly arrange for Bourne to get the work has been rubbished by Labour figures – to his face on Robert Peston’s ITV show when he clashed with Jess Phillips:

She’s wrong about a lot of things, but this isn’t one of them.

When the details of the sub-contract came out, Labour’s Annaliese Dodds demanded that Hancock return to Parliament to set the record straight:

He did respond, as follows: “This point of order and the point made in it demonstrates very clearly that there was no contract between the firm being discussed and the department or the NHS.

“So what this has done is demonstrated finally and for the record that there was no such contract between my constituent and the department or NHS. No matter how hard they look or how deep they dig, all that will be discovered is a lot of people working hard to save lives. That’s what was going on.”

That seems like bullshit to me.

Hancock recommended Bourne to a government official after having been contacted by Bourne.

He was responsible for awarding contracts.

A contract went to a company that then immediately passed on the work to Hancock’s friend, apparently because Hancock demanded it:

And, think about it: if you wanted to give plausible deniability to a corruptly-awarded contract, wouldn’t you do it by ensuring that it was a sub-contract that you could then say had nothing to do with you?

This Writer thinks Hancock’s story stinks – and I am looking forward to new information that the Good Law Project, which has been investigating the case, may turn up.

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Corruption: Tories employ firm involved in ‘Test and Trace’ fiasco – to rig public inquiry into it?

Tory corruption never ends; now they are trying to rig the findings of the forthcoming public inquiry into the mishandling of Test and Trace.

Government outsourcing firm Deloitte has been hired by the Conservative government to prepare a “strategy” for “evidence generation requirements” of the public inquiry into the fiasco.

But Deloitte was involved in Test and Trace. The firm was awarded huge government contracts worth almost £300 million. Consultants were paid £6,000 per day – apparently to do very little – and the company charged the government £1 million per day in fees.

It therefore has a considerable interest in ensuring that the Test and Trace system brought in by the Tory government receives a clean bill of health – even though it was an unmitigated disaster.

Fortunately, Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner is doing her job (unlike her boss Keir Starmer) and has written to Steve Barclay, Tory Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (who, one presumes, commissioned Deloitte to carry out the inquiry work), demanding answers.

As she points out in her letter, “The mismanagement, waste and failure of Test and Trace is well-documented. Up to £37 billion of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on a system that did not control infections and did not prevent future lockdowns.

“[Deloitte] was at the heart of Test and Trace’s operations, and therefore the failure of Test and Trace. It is clearly a conflict of interest for Deloitte to be awarded this contract.”

Here’s her tweet, publishing the letter to the world:

No matter what Barclay may say about Test and Trace (he’ll probably try to defend it), the central point of the letter is absolutely correct: as a contractor involved in Test and Trace, Deloitte should not have been even considered for a role in the inquiry.

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Tory corruption: North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson REPEATEDLY boosted companies that employed him

Master and servant: Owen Paterson with his boss, Peter Fitzgerald of Randox. Funny that… wasn’t Paterson supposed to be working for the people of North Shropshire?

North Shropshire’s Tory MP Owen Paterson has turned out to be as corrupt as they come – using his position as a public representative to boost the private interests of two companies. And it seems thousands of people may have died as a result.

Paterson is set to be punished for corruptly using his Parliamentary position to win contracts for two companies that employ him.

Yes, it is corruption. Yes, it is against Parliamentary rules. He should be booted out of the Palace of Westminster and told never to come back. In a proper, working democracy he would be arrested and sent to prison.

Would you like to know what will actually happen?

He’ll be suspended from Parliament for 30 working days.

That’s right – he gets a month’s extra holiday.

Here’s the report on Sky News:

And here’s the BBC:

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards Kathryn Stone opened an investigation into the MP following accusations he had lobbied on behalf of two companies who employed him.

Her report said he was a paid consultant to Randox and Lynn’s Country Foods and had made approaches to the Food Standards Agency and Department for International Development ministers about the companies.

The commissioner also found Mr Paterson had breached the MPs’ code of conduct by using his parliamentary office on 25 occasions for business meetings with clients between October 2016 and February 2020 and in sending two letters relating to business interests on House of Commons headed notepaper.

The report noted that there was no immediate financial benefit secured by the two companies-

Oh, really?

That would be Randox Health. Perhaps the Commissioner didn’t notice this significant fact because her report only goes as far as February 2020.

Randox was awarded its £133 million contract in March 2020 – and, yes, it was a closed process – unadvertised and with no other companies being asked to bid.

A month later, Paterson was a party to a call between Randox and James Bethell, then the Tory minister responsible for Covid-19 testing supplies.

Randox was hired to supply 2.7 million testing kits – but 750,000 of them were withdrawn after spot checks in July found that some of the kits, supplied by a Chinese manufacturer but sent out by Randox, were not sterile and could therefore be contaminated.

The failure delayed plans to provide regular testing for English care home residents and staff. We later discovered that Tory government failures to protect care homes resulted in around 30,000 unnecessary deaths.

But that was no concern for Randox – its contract was extended for a further six months in October last year. Again, the process was closed – unadvertised, with no other companies permitted to bid.

Much of this information may be confirmed by reading this Guardian article.

In fact, it should have been to safeguard the health of the people of the UK – especially, in this case, care home residents and staff. Instead, thousands died – possibly because he vouched for a company that provided substandard testing kits.

And his punishment is a 30-day holiday.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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