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Money going up in flames

June 13, 2022 4:59 PM

bh61A couple of days ago we drew attention to the story carried by the Financial Times which suggested £11bn had been wasted in the quantitative Easing programme through a failure to insure against rising interest payments

We then had our attention drawn by a story in the East Anglian Daily Times ( see Suffolk-stored PPE: government to burn £4bn of unusable PPE | East Anglian Daily Times (eadt.co.uk) ). It had picked up on a report issued by the cross-party Public Accounts Committee in parliament which had identified that £4bn worth of PPE purchased during covid was to be destroyed because it did not meet NHS standards and was apparently un-usable

The PAC also suggested another £5bn or thereabouts was overpaid when prices charged were above the long term trend for the items

It is , of course easy to criticise after the event and given the shortages caused by the pandemic some over-charging was almost inevitable but the report ( DHSC Annual Reports and Accounts 2020-21 (parliament.uk)) is full of examples of management processes being ignored. We know one of the causes of these issues was the creation of a "fast lane" approvals process for friends and relatives of Tory MPs.

Daisy Cooper, the Liberal Democrats' health spokesperson, commented: "Hard-working families, who are struggling to make ends meet, will be outraged that the Conservatives have squandered their money for no other reason than their sheer incompetence."

With more kids going hungry as inflation bites the government has refused to extend eligibility of free school meals saying money is not available. If the government had shown the same management stricture on the £15bn or so covered in our two recent stories this issue of affordability would not arise