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UK ‘plans to burn’ £4 billion of unusable Covid pr...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

UK ‘plans to burn’ £4 billion of unusable Covid protective gear

An emergency care assistant, left, and a paramedic from the South Central Ambulance Service, operated by South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, waits to safely remove their personal protective equipment (PPE) level three clothing after treating a patient with possible covid-19 symptoms who was found unconscious having suffered a cardiac arrest while cycling in Botley, in the ambulance bay of Southampton General hospital in Southampton, U.K., on Wednesday, May 6, 2020. The cult of the National Health Service has been key to so many political fortunes over the decades, but no leader has weaponized it more than Boris Johnson after years of austerity measures implemented by his Conservative Party. Photographer: Leon Neal/Getty Images
By Bloomberg
10 Jun 2022 0

The British government lost 75% of the £12 billion spent on PPE in the first year of the Covid-19 outbreak due to inflated prices and faulty kit.

Boris Johnson’s government spent £4 billion ($5 billion) on unusable personal protective equipment during the pandemic and now “plans to burn significant volumes” of it, Parliament’s spending watchdog found.

Millions of items of kit won’t be used because it doesn’t meet National Health Service standards, the Public Accounts Committee said in a report Friday. 

The report underscores how much Johnson’s ministers have worked to shift the narrative on their response to the pandemic, focusing on the vaccine roll out and how restrictions have been lifted. But before that, the government had faced intense criticism, including over the lack of PPE, the shortage of Covid-19 tests and delayed intervention as the virus spread.

Read more: UK’s Pandemic Response ‘Too Slow’ and Cost Taxpayers Billions

PPE purchasing was “perhaps the most shameful episode the UK government response to the pandemic,” committee chair Meg Hillier, an opposition Labour Party MP, said in an emailed statement. The government paid “obscenely inflated prices and payments to middlemen in a chaotic rush, during which they chucked out even the most cursory due diligence,” she said.

The Department of Health and Social Care did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government says it will burn much of the unused PPE “to generate power,” the panel of MPs said in its report, adding that the cost and environmental impact of doing so is “unclear”. BM


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