Tag Archives: stockpile

Let’s do the Brexit ‘hokey-cokey’: supermarkets told to stockpile food after Sharma said no

Remember this? It won’t be toilet roll that’s missing from supermarket shelves in January if they follow Alok Sharma’s advice – it will be food.

I had not realised how badly business minister Alok Sharma embarrassed himself on Monday’s breakfast media round.

Only a few hours ago, as I type this, he told the nation – well, see for yourself:

It turns out he was directly contradicting the government of which he is the business minister! See:

The UK government is reported to have warned supermarkets to stockpile food and other essential supplies amid increasing fears of a no-deal Brexit in less than three weeks’ time.

And in anticipation of shortages prompted by a no-deal, ministers have told supermarkets to start stockpiling goods.

Food producers have warned supplies of fresh vegetables will be worst hit if tariffs were imposed on goods in the event of a no-deal. They say shortages could last for at least three months.

If that is accurate, then Sharma’s advice is borderline criminal.

He was telling supermarkets not to stock up on vital food, despite having been warned of a shortage in the very near future.

He was telling the nation’s grocers to starve the people of the UK.

Source: Supermarkets ‘told to stockpile food’ as fears grow of no-deal Brexit | Brexit | The Guardian

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What kind of government lets a private firm run its PPE stockpile – and sell it?

PPE: The UK’s is on the bottom right. Now you know why it has been so diabolically awful.

The UK’s Tory government.

The UK’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in a pandemic…  has been outsourced to a private company, Movianto, which was sold two weeks ago for $133m (£107m) by its owner, a large US healthcare group.

Lunacy.

No wonder NHS staffers were reduced to wearing bin bags and re-using single-use items.

We need an independent inquiry into the government’s decisions before and during the pandemic – and how private enterprise contributed to the calamity.

Source: Revealed: Private firm running UK PPE stockpile was sold in middle of pandemic | World news | The Guardian

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Britons hoard £4bn of food, drink and medicine in fear of no-deal Brexit

UK citizens distrust their government so much that they have stockpiled billions of pounds worth of food, drink and medicine, due to fear that the Tories are too inept to maintain an uninterrupted supply, post-Brexit.

And who can blame them?

We’ve heard nothing but a constant stream of woolly-headed optimism from Tory ministers, while the UK’s negotiating position with the EU has deteriorated beyond salvation.

Now, BoJob is talking about “no deal” as being the default expectation, meaning prices are likely to skyrocket.

He doesn’t care; his life has always been cushioned by extreme wealth.

But if you care about your future, you’ve probably got a room full of non-perishable foodstuffs and any medication you may need – and you’ll be backing an early vote of ‘no confidence’ in the clown at Number 10.

Britons have spent £4bn stockpiling goods in preparation for a possible no-deal Brexit, new research suggests.

One in five people are already hoarding food, drinks and medicine, spending an extra £380 each, according to a survey by the finance provider Premium Credit. The survey found that about 800,000 people have spent more than £1,000 building up stockpiles before the 31 October Brexit deadline.

If the UK leaves with no deal, businesses predict there will be short-term supply problems, which the government says it is mitigating.

Similar research in the weeks leading up to the original deadline for the UK to leave the EU found that about 17% of the population had spent some money building up supplies, with a total stockpile spend calculated at £4.6bn ahead of the 31 March deadline.

Source: Britons have spent £4bn stockpiling goods in case of no-deal Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

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Did ‘body parts stockpile’ firm come unstuck because of an unrealistically-low bid for the contract?

Skwawkbox found this report, suggesting the contractor’s bid was too low.

Fellow left media site Skwawkbox has uncovered a new aspect of the ‘body parts stockpile’ scandal – that private firm Healthcare Environmental Services’ bid for the contract was unrealistically low.

It would be easy to lay all the blame for the current situation on the company – but if it is a money problem, it really is just another symptom of the Conservative government’s mania for providing public services on the cheap, no matter how bad the service then turns out to be.

Private companies make their bids artificially low – because they know the lowest bid will get the contract.

And then the contractor fails to do the job because the money it requested isn’t enough.

You’d have thought the Tories would have learned their lesson from Carillion.

They should have reviewed all private contracts after that fiasco.

If they didn’t, this scandal is less the fault of the company than the government.

ADDITIONAL: It seems a criminal investigation has been launched into the behaviour of Healthcare Environmental Services after the Environment Agency said the company had breached environmental permits.

It seems I was right: The Tory government is trying to blame the contractor for a scandal they caused themselves.

A private firm with a public contract for disposing of clinical waste has been unable to execute its contract in a ‘timely’ fashion, leading to a ‘pile up‘ of hundreds of tonnes of human body parts and other waste.

But the Department of Health’s management organisation for the English NHS, NHS England (NHSE), was told well over a year ago that the price bid by the winning contractor, Healthcare Environmental Services (HES) was ‘abnormally low‘ – and it went to court to defeat a legal bid to overturn the contract award.

Another firm that competed in the tender, Stericycle (then called SRCL), lodged a complaint that the winning bidder had put in a price that was unrealistically low. Stericycle’s legal action was an attempt to overturn the award – but was defeated in the High Court in July.

Source: Govt was warned body-parts firm’s bid was unrealistically low | The SKWAWKBOX

Lack of investment means waste firm with NHS contract has been stockpiling human body parts

The waste organs that have been stockpiled are the products of surgery, in many cases.

Lack of investment in the UK’s capacity for high-temperature incineration has created a ghoulish stockpile of human body parts awaiting proper disposal.

The company with the contract (of course, it had to be an issue with outsourcing to private contractors) to dispose of National Health Service waste including amputated limbs, infectious liquids and cytotoxic waste connected with cancer treatments is Healthcare Environmental Services Ltd.

And it is pleading innocence. For once, the contractor is not to blame, it seems.

The evidence is that the UK’s ability to incinerate this dangerous waste has diminished because the UK’s aging high-temperature incinerators have been allowed to fall into disrepair, meaning they break down for prolonged periods – and “zero waste to landfill” policies mean the little time that is available has been earmarked for other purposes.

This is clearly a failure by the Conservative government.

It seems the government was notified that too much waste has been building up, back at the end of July this year. But Healthcare Environmental says it has been warning environmental regulators – government environmental regulators – for the past year, and had been highlighting the reduction in incinerator capacity for several more years prior to that.

So the government has known about the problem for years.

And what has it done?

It told the company to make the waste organs safe by putting them in refrigerators. Brilliant.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth isn’t satisfied at all. He said: “These are staggering revelations and given the number of NHS Trusts involved, along with wider environmental health implications, I’m disappointed the Health Secretary didn’t inform Parliament last month.

“We need a statement in the Commons next week from ministers detailing when the Government was first informed of this stockpiling, what support is now available to Trusts and what contingency plans are in place for the future.”

Personally, I wonder if this is an issue that has fallen through the “austerity” gap.

When David Cameron started slashing government investment in public services, he assumed that gaps in provision would be filled by the private sector, with profit-motivated companies rushing in to make a buck or two. Alternatively, he suggested that not-for-profit organisations would take over in some areas, in an intiative he called “The Big Society”.

The problem was that “The Big Society” disappeared without a trace and private enterprise didn’t touch anything that didn’t show an opportunity for quick profit. This was a time of recession, remember – there wasn’t the cash available for heavy investment.

It seems to me that Cameron had painted himself into a corner. He had managed to slither into office on the basis of his claim that he could make everything better by getting everybody to tighten their belts, but had actually meant the poor and working people would pay, while people of his own class would profit (they have tripled their incomes while the rest of us struggled on real-terms cuts in wages and/or benefits).

In short, he couldn’t get Big Money to pay for modernisation, and he wouldn’t pay for it with the public purse.

So he ignored it.

Now he is long gone, and Theresa May is in charge of a Tory government that is falling apart – not least because the consequences of Cameron’s cuts are coming home.

This is just one of them.

Theresa May announced that austerity was over in her conference speech (yes, I know it was a lie).

As the bills arrive for modernisation of the services Cameron neglected, I wonder how long it’ll be before she announces that it is reinstated?

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