Daily Mirror

£8.7bn of PPE cash wasted

- BY MARTIN BAGOT

AROUND £8.7billion spent by the Government on personal protective equipment during the pandemic has been written off, accounts reveal.

Documents from the Department of Health show huge amounts wasted on useless gear, while millions of pounds have been spent getting out of contracts or storing PPE at ports.

Some £673million of equipment was unusable and £750m went on items not used before the expiry date, the 2020/21 accounts show.

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Pat McFadden said: “These levels of waste destroy any claim the Conservati­ves have to be careful stewards of the public finances.

“Along with the Government’s laissez-faire attitude to fraud, this will be particular­ly galling to hardworkin­g households wondering how they will pay the higher taxes the Chancellor is imposing this April.”

Nearly £2.6bn was spent on “items not suitable for use in the NHS” but which the department thinks can be sold or given to charities. The DHSC also said the value of remaining stock fell by £4.7bn as the price of PPE dropped.

The department said only 3% of the PPE was not fit for any purpose.

It added: “In a highly competitiv­e global market where many countries imposed export bans, we acted swiftly to obtain 30,000 ventilator­s by the end of June 2020 and we have delivered over 17.5 billion items of PPE to the front line.

“The supply of these vital items helped keep our NHS open at a moment of national crisis.”

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