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Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth £4,000 million (£4 billion) bought early in the pandemic to prevent NHS staff being infected with COVID is to be burned as it is unusable.

The imminent destruction of so much PPE and waste of public money was revealed today in a report by the cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at Westminster.

The report is scathing of England’s Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the failure of Tory Ministers to monitor it and criticised the “haphazard purchasing strategy.”

The report says:

“The department has no clear disposal strategy for this excess PPE but plans to burn significant volumes.”

The DHSC has so much PPE it has appointed two commercial waste companies to dispose of 15,000 pallets a month.

Patricia Gibson MP said:

“Today’s report is a shocking indictment of the appalling waste of taxpayers’ money by beleaguered Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s incompetent UK Tory Government.

“As families struggle with rising food and fuel costs, billions of pounds of unusable gowns, goggles and gloves are about to be torched.

“Tory Ministers rushed chaotically to acquire PPE with a ‘VIP lane’ offering privileged access to well-connected people keen to bid for contracts. The handing of multiple deals to friends and associates of ministers and other senior Tories was scandalous.

“Colossal sums were paid for PPE at exorbitant, obscenely inflated prices with payments to middlemen without even the most cursory due diligence.

“Huge contracts are now being investigated by the National Crime Agency. Some contracts even include allegations of modern slavery being used in the supply chain.”

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, Chair of Council British Medical Association, added:

“The deadly mismanagement around the supply of PPE is one of the greatest failings of this Government’s handling of the pandemic.”

A DHSC review of the 364 PPE contracts it signed found that 176 (48%) were questionable. Of those, almost a quarter, 59 are under commercial renegotiation, 27 legal review or in mediation, 3.

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