Memo to the UK Conservative Party

SUBJECT: Your new leader

HTF did she do PPE? HTF did she present a budget without consulting her cabinet over it?

She’s in the grip of the IEA and other insane Tufton Street think-tanks.

You’re on course for a serious clash. We need climate action immediately, we need no new oil and gas now. We don’t have time to feck about, the World is burning.

We can’t tolerate you having a bonkers, insane totally divorced from reality leader who has the infantile approach that things will happen simply by wishing them to be true. Put reins on her.

Continue ReadingMemo to the UK Conservative Party

CRONY CAPITALISM: Boris Johnson’s government of sleaze

It’s taken just 12 months for Boris Johnson to create a government of sleaze Johnathan Freedland

Boris Johnson's thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch
Boris Johnson’s thumbs up from Rupert Murdoch

It took the last Tory government the best part of 18 years to become mired in sleaze, but Boris Johnson’s administration is smelling of it already. Whether doling out lucrative contracts, helping billionaire property developers cut costs, or handing out lifetime seats in the House of Lords, the guiding principle seems to be brazen cronyism, coupled with the arrogance of those who believe they are untouchable and that rules are for little people.

This week came word of at least £156m of taxpayers’ money wasted on 50 million face masks deemed unsuitable for the NHS. They were bought from a private equity firm through a company that had no track record of producing personal protective equipment – or indeed anything for that matter – and that had a share capital of just £100. But this company, Prospermill, had a crucial asset. It was co-owned by one Andrew Mills, adviser to the government, staunch Brexiteer and cheerleader for international trade secretary, Liz Truss.

Somehow Prospermill managed to persuade the government to part with £252m, boasting that it had secured exclusive rights over a PPE factory in China. Just one problem. The masks it produced use ear loops, when only masks tied at the head are judged by the government to be suitable for NHS staff. If the government wanted to spend £156m on masks for the nation’s kids to play doctors and nurses, this was a great deal. But in the fight against a pandemic, it was useless.

Boris Johnson’s government is doing little to deny it exploited the Covid crisis to benefit cronies

… Ayanda is not the first unlikely winner of covid-related contracts awarded by the Johnson government. Another lucky supplier is Crisp Websites, a company whose main business is pest control (trading as Pestfix) and which, despite having assets of only £19,000 and just 16 employees, won a £108 million contract for PPE. Clandeboye Agencies Ltd, a confectionery wholesaler, won another £108 million contract, despite lacking prior experience in this area.

And SG Recruitment UK, a healthcare recruitment firm, won a £24 million contract to provide overalls for healthcare workers. While SG Recruitment was at least somewhat experienced in the healthcare industry, its poor financial health made it a risky proposition for providing this critical public service. Auditors had issued a “going concern” warning five months earlier, flagging that the company’s liabilities exceeded its current assets by £376,000. Given recent experience of outsourcers going bust and leaving the government with hefty bills and unfinished projects, SG Recruitment also seems an odd choice.

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Revealed: PPE stockpile was out-of-date when coronavirus hit UK

By Channel 4 News Investigations Team

Almost 80% of respirators in the national pandemic stockpile were out of date when coronavirus hit the UK.

Channel 4 News has obtained detailed stock lists that reveal exactly what was held, on the day coronavirus was declared an international emergency.

Around 200 million vital pieces of kit – including respirators, masks, syringes and needles – had all expired in the eight months before 30 January.

This included 20.9 million out-of-date respirators, from a total of 26.3 million. The tightly-fitting mouth masks are vital for filtering the air that NHS workers breathe.

The documents also reveal that more than half of the national stockpile of surgical facemasks had also expired.

In total, 45% of the 19,909 boxes holding PPE supplies had exceeded their use-by dates.

The documents suggest a failure by Public Health England and NHS Supply Chain’s management company, Supply Chain Coordination Limited, to maintain the stockpile in a state of readiness.

Expired stock is excluded from distribution, meaning millions of boxes of kit could have been delayed from being sent to hospitals and care homes – just as the virus began to spread.

Millions of expired respirators weren’t cleared for release until they were tested, between 10 March and 19 March. By this time, the UK was already suffering a desperate shortage of PPE.

Continue ReadingRevealed: PPE stockpile was out-of-date when coronavirus hit UK