During the pandemic the government spent unthinkable amounts of money on PPE, new schemes and more. 4 years on, we learn about the mass waste of time, products and public money.


PPE waste

A deal from April 2020 between the government and an NHS supplier based in Northamptonshire, Full Support healthcare has generated mass waste by the government. They agreed to around 2.02 billion items of PPE equipment, including masks, respirators, eye protection and aprons costing £1.78bn.

This was the largest order of PPE from a single supplier and accounted for 13% of the government’s total spend.

Clearly an over order as of the 2.02 billion items of PPE only 232 million have been dispatched to the NHS or other care settings. At least 1.57 billion items have never been used with 749 million items already having been burnt or destroyed with 825 million items being classified as excess with the potential of also being destroyed.

This is at least £1.4 billion worth of PPE not being used.

This is a waste of massive proportion with an additional £100m of public money being spent on destroying or storing this excess stock.

This deal has been labelled the most wasteful Government deal of the pandemic, the BBC reveal that the PPE supplier, Full Support had no idea of the waste of their stock and the government had never relayed this information to them.


Government error and corruption?

The department for work and pensions generated fraud and error savings of £500 million through retrospective review of universal credit claims. This amounts to at least £1.5 billion of fraud claims still being paid up to 2022.

It was reported that around £21 billion was lost to fraud in the pandemic up to 2023.

There were also suspicions on how the government was spending public money at the time. The New York Times reportedly analysed 1200 contracts worth almost $22billion and found that around half of these went to companies which are run by friends and associates of Conservative party politicians. It clearly helps to have a friend in government.