Cllr Scott Dickinson
Cllr Scott Dickinson

Northumberland Labour Group is concerned about the way the government has spent and misspent money throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Labour Group deputy leader Scott Dickinson said: “While we fully understand that the government had to act quickly to buy protective equipment for example, it is unacceptable to use what is effectively an old boys’ network as a solution.

“It would appear that the government’s business friends have used the pandemic as an excuse to make an obscene amount of money. It looks like many have seen it as a cash cow, rather than act in the country’s interests.”

Scott’s comments follow an analysis by Labour revealed that 10 Covid-contracts, worth over £470 million in total, have been handed to companies either listed in tax havens or with a parent company listed in a tax haven.

Despite evidence from the National Audit Office that taxpayer money was used to pay well over the odds for PPE, and that this government’s procurement process seriously lacks important transparency, there are no real moves to increase clarity or trust.

Scott added: “There are many unanswered questions about how public money is being used to fund PR consultants, some of whom are being paid £7,000 a day. Taxpayers deserve to know their money is being handled with great care and that any risks of its misuse through tax havens is monitored by this government.

“This government cannot continue to brush worrying patterns like this off. They must commit to cleaning up their contracts now and be far more open to restore public confidence. These revelations raise yet more serious questions about how taxpayer money is being spent during the pandemic and how the government is being run.

“The Prime Minister must be transparent about the processes he has put in place to allow such potential breaches of public trust.

“We should expect the highest standards of national leadership on finance and this should filter down. Ultimately the people in this country are footing the bill; they need to know how and where the money they are paying into the economy is being spent.”

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