MP Pat McFadden highlights £8.7bn on Tory PPE losses buried in DHSC ...

A clip of a Labour Party MP taking the government to task over huge PPE losses has got people talking.

Speaking in the House of Commons, shadow chief secretary to the treasury Pat McFadden delivered a speech following reports that the government has written off £8.7bn it spent on protective equipment bought during the pandemic, and demonstrated what that money could have been spent on instead.

He said:

"It has emerged that £8.7 billion of losses in PPE have had to be accounted for in that department's [health's] spending. Just pause and think about that. £8.7 billion of losses.

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"What could that have done in the NHS? It is twice the government's entire hospital building programme and it's dismissed on page 109 of the department's annual report. And if you add, for example, that £8.7 billion to the £4.3 billion (Covid loan fraud) that we've been highlighting today, you get a whole year's worth of receipts from the National Insurance rise that's going to be imposed on families in April."

He then made a point about the planned National Insurance rise and said it may well be to plug this funding gap. He added:

"So the chancellor says this is all about public services, but it is impossible to escape the conclusion that these taxes are at least in part to fill the hole caused by this colossal mismanagement of public money."

Health department documents McFadden was referencing show that items costing £673m were unusable, while £750m of equipment was not used before its expiry date.

They also revealed that the largest write-off - £4.7bn - was because the government paid more for it than it is currently worth, now that global supplies have recovered, and that a further £2.6bn of equipment was judged to be unsuitable for use in the NHS.

Nevertheless, a government spokesperson told the BBC that they "stand by the decision to purchase the items that we did", saying the approach was "justified" to get PPE to the front line.

"We were acting in a highly competitive global market with many countries imposing export bans and obviously we were seeking to secure PPE for frontline clinicians," the prime minister's official spokesman said.

"97 per cent of PPE ordered was suitable for use and we're seeking to recover costs from suppliers wherever and whenever possible".

But reacting to the clip, people praised McFadden for his concise argument:






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