Sunday 11 October 2020

Pablo Escobar would be Jealous


Transparency and value for money in the way public funds are spent usually require state bodies to advertise any new contract over a certain value, and invite several bidders to compete. “Because of extreme urgency and in the interests of public health”, the government has dispensed with this requirement so that Covid-19 related deals could be signed “without competing or advertising the requirement.”


This has opened the door to a Covid-19 bonanza for some firms.


Serco have now ‘won’ over £1 billion to organise Covid-19 track and trace. There now needs to be a track and trace put in place to find out how they have managed to get this money without carrying out track and trace. 


I doubt that many readers can conceptualise what £1 billion means. In terms of time, 1 UK billion seconds = 32 years. In physical terms you would need 720 white vans to transport that amount in cash.


On a smaller scale Stroud Tory councillor Steve Dechan, who runs P14 Medical, a loss-making firm distributing medical devices, recently signed a £156 million deal to import PPE from China.

This follows the news that PR firm, Hanbury Strategy, founded by a Dominic Cummings ally, has been ‘awarded’ two Covid-related contracts for £900,000 to research “public attitudes and behaviours in relation to Covid-19”.

Topham Guerin, a communications company behind the Tory party’s 2019 digital campaign strategy, was given a £3 million contract to work on Covid-19 "messaging".

Public First, a consultancy firm owned by two friends of Cummings and Michael Gove, has been given nearly £1 million for Covid-related work.

Faculty, hired by Cummings for the Vote Leave campaign, is "conducting data modelling" for £3 million.


None of these ‘contracts’ went out for tender. 


This is what happens when you privatise the state and eviscerate local democracry. 


It is corruption on a scale that would make Pablo Escobar jealous.



You can find further information at Open Democracy HERE and HERE