Tag Archives: contract

#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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Covid-19 is still killing more than 100 people a day. Why the media blackout?

Still deadly after all these months: Covid-19 is currently infecting around 40,000 people a day – and killing 130-150.

Did you think the Covid-19 crisis was over?

That seems to be what your government – and media – want you to think. Think again.

Here are a few facts from October 6 – the day of Boris Johnson’s speech to the Conservative Party conference, in which he hardly mentioned Covid at all:

Yesterday, this graph became available. Note that the UK is spiking again, while Germany, France and Spain are plummeting.

The BBC has, at least, reported on the latest evidence – albeit with an attempt at self-justification. “Unnoticed”? John Whittle puts that fiction right:

The trouble in the UK is that we are a nation in denial. The BBC article plays down the significance of a death toll as high as three major commercial aircraft crashes every week, and so does the head of the UK Health Security Agency:

This Site’s long-term friend Samuel Miller puts his finger on the reason we let these people get away with it: fatigue.

Is there an ulterior motive for the sudden silence? Covid has provided Boris Johnson’s corrupt government with opportunities to siphon billions of pounds out of the public purse and into private pockets. Now we have this:

Adam, below, explains the situation succinctly:

That’s one and two-thirds million pounds per patient. Would you call that value for money? Or is it a rip-off of the public purse to enrich the profit-grubbers?

The crisis of Covid is nowhere near its end. And the scandal of Covid has hardly even begun.

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Bonanza for private health firms as Tories cut NHS’s ability to cope

Private hospitals are set to mop up more than £2 billion in new deals – £200 million of which will be pure profit for shareholders – to provide non-urgent procedures like hip replacement operations because the NHS is struggling with Tory underfunding.

It’s typical financial incompetence from the Tories – they’d rather send £200 million to the private offshore tax-haven bank accounts of greedy profiteers than invest it in the health of the English people (this is an English NHS plan).

And experience indicates that the NHS will have to come back and sort out the mess after the private firms botch a significant percentage of the operations (unless they’ve managed to stop doing that? If anyone has new information on this, please let me know).

According to iNews,

The Government has drawn up contingency plans for further local, regional, or national lockdowns in England, but hopes the deals to create around 7,000 extra beds in private hospitals will help avoid the need for the reintroduction of Covid restrictions.

The signing of further contracts with the private sector follows a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that found NHS waiting lists could almost treble to 14 million by autumn next year.

A spokesman for NHS England claimed such deals between the NHS and private healthcare groups are struck “at the same cost to taxpayers” as NHS services. However, similar contracts throughout the pandemic have agreed a “cost-plus” pricing formula, which allow for profits of between 8 and 10 per cent to be paid to the hospital groups.

Private hospital groups such as Circle Health, Ramsay Health Care and Spire Healthcare are believed to been among those discussing new and expanded deals with the Department for Health and Social Care.

This is just throwing good money after bad.

And the reason it is necessary? Here‘s the Morning Star:

NHS workers are trapped in a “vicious circle” of staff shortages and exhaustion, health service experts have warned, as they called for better funding of the health service.

Real investment in capacity is needed to address vacancies in the NHS, the effect of which has been compounded by increasing rates of staff sickness, said Dr Layla McCay, policy director of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations.

The warning came after MPs published a damning report in June highlighting “emergency” levels of staff burnout in the healthcare sector.

There are currently 76,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, including 40,000 for doctors.

Last month, research by doctors’ union BMA found that England was 25 years behind comparable European nations in terms of the number of doctors per 1,000 people.

Saying that it was “unforgivable” that the government had allowed workforce levels to reach this point, the union demanded extra Treasury investment in training and retaining doctors.

So there you have it.

The NHS would be able to cope with the extra work caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – if only the Conservative Government had funded it properly, making it possible to employ and retain a number of doctors equivalent to those available in other European nations.

But they didn’t. Once again, despite being the sixth-richest country in the World, the UK is the “poor man” in terms of the value we get for that money.

And rather than even begin to put right that lack of investment, the Tory imbeciles are wasting money by throwing it at private firms who will invest it in their own private back accounts rather than in treating people who need it.

That really is sick!

It conforms with Noam Chomsky’s definition of privatisation technique perfectly, though: defund, make sure things don’t work… hand it over to private capital.

The Tories in government are swearing that the private contracts are just a stop-gap measure while the NHS is struggling.

But just you watch them and see if they ever take that work back in-house.

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Inflation is expected to hit four per cent – but is it really all down to Covid?

The Bank of England: don’t believe its claims about inflation.

The Bank of England reckons inflation will hit four per cent – twice as much as the target level – as the UK recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

But do we believe the claim?

The Bank of England says the increase reflects “higher energy and goods prices, which in turn reflect rising commodity prices, transportation bottlenecks, constraints on production and strong global demand for goods”.

I can understand that demand across the world for goods that have been under-produced because of pandemic-related lockdowns will push prices up.

But energy prices – in the UK at least – are increasing at a time when the companies are recording their highest-ever profits, most of which go to bosses and shareholders. Consumers are being bled dry by greed.

And what about the inflationary effect of all the money Boris Johnson has been spaffing off to his Tory friends on the pretext of awarding Covid-related equipment supply contracts, for which he’s had nothing in return?

Oh – and flags. Don’t forget the fortune the Tories have paid for flags:

The point about wages is well made. Back when This Writer was a sprog, Tories used to complain that pay increases pushed up inflation. Now it is happening after a period of prolonged pay depression.

I understand teachers’ pay has fallen at about the same rate as that of nurses.

The message is clear: any increase in inflation is due to Tory economic mismanagement. But they’ll make you suffer for it.

So if you have been able to save up some money – as many of us are said to have done while lockdowns kept us indoors, then it’s a good time to invest in solar panels for your roof. They will provide all your electricity needs and you will be able to sell some of it back to the grid.

Apart from that, keep your money in the back and enjoy the interest rate boost when it comes. Considering what the Tory government will do to you in the future, you’ll need it!

Source: Bank of England warns inflation will hit 4% this year but holds interest rates | Interest rates | The Guardian

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Tory crony contracts: MP gave paid roles to lobbyist

Karl McCartney.

Is this another example of jobs for the Tory boys?

And why was a lobbyist being given access to All-Party Parliamentary Groups?

There needs to be an investigation into this – and the other allegations against Karl McCartney (but there probably won’t be, in Boris Johnson’s unaccountable fascist dictatorship).

A Tory MP handed thousands of pounds worth of paid roles to a lobbyist, prompting calls for tighter rules on cash and influence in Parliamentary groups.

Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln, was until last month, chair or vice chair of seven sport-related All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPG) – bodies set up to allow MPs to discuss a particular subject or interest.

And on each group chaired by Mr McCartney, Three Lines Sport – a firm run by lobbyist Mark Ramsdale – is listed as Secretary.

According to records held by Parliament, Mr Ramsdale’s firm is paid through sponsorship by at least five of the seven groups, earning him or his firm at least £90,000.

Meanwhile, a Business Insider investigation alleged Mr McCartney had used public money to pay a donor, and had allegedly “concealed” his position as a shareholder of his brother’s firm, Moonlighting Systems.

Source: Tory MP handed paid roles on Parliamentary groups to lobbyist amid football team row – Mirror Online

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Government appeals court ruling that contract with Gove cronies Public First was unlawful

Backhander: if you know the circumstances of the court case against the government over its contract with Public First, then you will know why I’m using this picture. If not, follow the link in the story to read the details.

After spending half a million pounds defending a decision to give a contract worth only slightly more to friends of Tory minister Michael Gove – and losing – the government intends to spend even more on an appeal.

In June, the High Court ruled that a Tory government decision to award a £560,000 contract to Public First gave rise to “apparent bias” and was unlawful.

Mrs Justice O’Farrell said: “The claimant is entitled to a declaration that the decision of 5 June 2020 to award the contract to Public First gave rise to apparent bias and was unlawful.”

You can read the details of the case here.

Now the Good Law Project – which brought the case to court – has revealed that the government is appealing against the ruling, although the exact grounds for the appeal do not seem clear.

“We think his decision to spend more public money on an appeal is likely to be driven by a desire to postpone a further embarrassing loss in a separate challenge we are bringing,” a statement by the Good Law Project claims.

“We are challenging another lucrative contract awarded to allies of Michael Gove, this time to a company called Hanbury. It was due to be heard later this month but will now be delayed.

“However, the appeal gives us a chance to revivify the arguments … that there was time for a proper competitive tender process and/or no need to give such a long and valuable contract without any tender process.

“All of that having been said, we have to recognise Government spent an extraordinary £500,000+ on a one day hearing below – approximately twice what we managed to raise to fight and win the case. With that in mind, we have decided to reopen our crowdfunding page.”

If you are in a position to donate, you can do so here.

Source: Government is appealing – Good Law Project

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Covid-19: Boris Johnson gave more than the GDP of 140 nations and territories in contracts to crony companies

Spaffer: Johnson spaffed £52.5 billion up the wall in so-called Covid-19 contracts to Tory crony firms – and got practically nothing in return.

Boris Johnson used the Covid-19 crisis as an excuse to give cash totalling the Gross Domestic Product of 140 nation states and territories – your money – mostly to companies that were run by Tory donors or friends of people in his Conservative government.

And now he’s saying the cost of the Covid crisis means he’s cutting overseas aid. Doesn’t he mean there’s no money for Johnny Foreigner because he’s spaffed it all up his fatcat crony donor friends?

Of £52.5 billion in contracts, £27.5 billion was awarded without competitive tender. Experience shows that this means the cash went to cronies of the Tory government, many of whom had no experience and had literally just set up a company name in order to take the money. Meanwhile, experts in their field were denied any funding at all.

Profiting most from the handout was a firm called Innova Medical Group, with whom most of the contracts were for test kits that the US government has said are inaccurate and should be thrown away.

The National Audit Office says only 96 million out of 691 million Innova test kits have been registered as used.

The travesty is explained in excruciating detail by The Citizens, below:

Yes, the government has serious questions to answer.

Sadly, it is a government led by Boris Johnson so we know that all the answers will be twaddle.

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Fact-checker: Gove LIED about government contract with his cronies at Public First

Sneaky little critter: Tory liar Michael Gove.

Vox Political vindicated again: This Site stated that the government’s £560,000 contracts with Public First were unlawful and the government was lying about the High Court’s decision, back in June.

Now we have the finding of fact-checker Full Fact to support that conclusion.

As Dorset Eye (and you really should be reading Dorset Eye) wrote:

“During an appearance on Sky News, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove was asked about a recent ruling at the High Court on the government’s decision to award a £560,000 contract to marketing agency Public First during the pandemic. The agency is run by former colleagues of both Mr Gove and Dominic Cummings, the former chief adviser to the Prime Minister.

“In the interview, Mr Gove claimed that “the court found that there was no actual bias in the decision that was taken by others to award this contract […] there was no breach of the ministerial code.”

“That’s wrong. Michael Gove was moving the goalposts in talking about actual bias. The court was asked to determine whether the award of the contract was unlawful because of apparent bias.

“The judge held that the decision making process which led to the award of the contract did give rise to apparent bias, and so was unlawful.”

Tory liars like Gove are sneaky little critters and you have to watch out for these little deceptions.

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Crony contract to Tory friends was ‘unlawful’ – but government is lying about the decision

Backhander: the Tory government is still claiming there was nothing wrong with the Public First contract but the High Court’s ruling is final – it was not legal.

The High Court has ruled that a Tory government decision to award a £560,000 contract to friends of a Tory minister and advisor gave rise to “apparent bias” and was unlawful.

The Tories are already trying to spin this by saying there was no suggestion of “actual” bias, and the contract was not awarded due to personal or professional connections between Michael Gove and Dominic Cummings and their friends in Public First, Rachel Wolf and James Frayne. She co-wrote the Conservatives’ 2019 election manifesto and he worked on the campaign to leave the European Union with Cummings.

I don’t know what the Cabinet Office is trying to achieve by saying that. The judge’s ruling is crystal clear: the government broke the law:

Delivering her ruling, Mrs Justice O’Farrell said: “The claimant is entitled to a declaration that the decision of 5 June 2020 to award the contract to Public First gave rise to apparent bias and was unlawful.”

Nothing else matters. Public First and the Cabinet Office can say what they like but the decision to award the contract to Tory cronies was not permitted within the law and that is the end of the matter.

This Site has been reporting on it since July last year, when the contract first became public knowledge.

I wrote at the time: “It’s jobs for the boys, the Old School Tie, and every other example of favouritism you can imagine in the Tory government during the Covid crisis!

“They’re using emergency regulations, that allow services to be commissioned quickly, to pass huge amounts of money to their friends.

“And apparently there’s a conflict of interest as it seems to involve Eurosceptics working on focus group research related to Brexit – parts of the work contracted involved research on public attitudes to Brexit, which is dodgy in a Eurosceptic firm – although a Cabinet Office spokesman said this was a bookkeeping issue. Do you believe that?

“The Tories are using the Covid-19 crisis to funnel public money away from vital services and into their friends’ bank accounts.”

And I quoted The Guardian‘s report which is interesting in that it states the contract was worth £840,000. It’s curious that these amounts always fall when people are in trouble over them – and always rise when public money is being used to pay.

One piece of information that should have been a dead giveaway was the fact that Public First’s registered office is a residential address – a house – in Long Eaton, Nottinghamshire.

Public First was also behind the disastrous plan to bias (there’s that word again) ‘A’ level results against students who didn’t go to Public Schools like Eton.

The collaboration led to the result we all know:

The algorithm used by Ofqual downgraded 40% of the A-level grades assessed by teachers under the process set after the exams were cancelled, leading to a storm of protest from students, parents, school leaders and teachers, that culminated in a complete government U-turn on Monday and the system being scrapped.

Details of this contract were not made public and Ofqual declined to say how much public money had been spent hiring the firm of Tory cronies. It was only later that the organisation had to admit handing over £49,000 of your money to buy poorer results for your children.

Ofqual’s boss at the time, Sally Collier, later resigned – apparently in shame at having given Public First the contract, and at what that firm did with it.

So now here’s the big question: if the contract to Public First was not legal, shouldn’t that money be paid back?

And if so – by whom?

Say what you like about Public First; the work was carried out. Whether it was carried out to an acceptable standard has not been recorded (and the Ofqual experience casts doubt on that) but somebody did the work that was contracted, and we may expect that it was done in good faith.

So, shouldn’t the government minister(s), who broke the law by awarding the contract wrongly, now pay back into public funds at least the £560,000 quoted in the High Court’s judgement?

Matt Hancock, maybe? Or Boris Johnson?

Source: Government acted unlawfully over firm’s £560,000 Covid contract – BBC News

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Tory corruption: how many Covid-19 contracts went to party donors?

The image above tells a shameful story.

And it’s one the Tory government seems very keen to cover up.

Frances Stanley is said to have been handed a PPE contract worth £14.4 million of public money by the Tories after her husband donated £5,000 to Matt Hancock’s office.

She had no previous professional experience of providing such equipment and subsequently failed to fulfil the contract.

She handed back the government’s £7.2 million deposit – but the episode wasted valuable time when people were dying of a deadly disease for lack of protective equipment.

We don’t seem to know whether her application was handled on the so-called “fast lane” provided to Tory donors in order to help them jump the queue for these lucrative contracts.

But we do know that she is the wife of a Tory donor who received millions of pounds to provide a service she was unqualified to do, and whose failure is likely to have cost many lives.

And it is time we knew exactly how many of these duff contracts have been handed out.

We need a list of all contracts that have been handed to people connected to Tory donors, stating clearly whether these contracts were handed out via the “fast lane” system, how much money was handed over, and whether the contract was fulfilled.

Then we’ll be able to start working out the depth of corruption to which your government sank while your relatives and friends were dying.

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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