Firms linked to Tories have won £500m pandemic contracts without having to bid

Nigel Nelson 

Firms linked to the Tory Party have won nearly £500million in pandemic contracts without having to bid.

Labour says at least 13 companies got the contracts with no competitive tendering.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Rachel Reeves said: “There has been an alarming pattern of companies with links to the Conservatives doing well out of publicly funded projects during this pandemic. 

“People want their governments to use public money fairly and they don’t expect contracts to end up with ministers’ mates.”

She is demanding an independent probe.

One firm, Randox, received £133million for Covid testing.

It pays Tory MP and former Cabinet minister Owen Paterson £8,333 a month as an adviser.

Earlier this month, 750,000 unused Randox testing kits were ­recalled over safety concerns.

Serco is paid £108million for running the national contact-tracing service and nearly £46million by the DWP to run call centres.

Health minister Edward Argar was a senior executive and boss Rupert Soames is brother of former Tory MP Sir Nicholas Soames.

In November 2019, Rupert Soames’ wife Camilla donated £4,995 to the Tory Party.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which won seven contracts, hired Theresa May ’s former top aide Gavin Barwell as a strategic adviser in January.

He is also a non-executive adviser at Arcadis – which was given a £1.5million consultancy contract with the Ministry of Justice in April.

Public First Ltd gets £840,000 to run focus groups for No10. It is owned by James Frayne, who started the New Frontiers think tank in 2003 with Dominic Cummings.

Dragontown Ltd was awarded a contract worth £675,000 to supply PPE to London’s Guys’ and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust.

Lady Xuelin Bates, a director of this firm, is the wife of Tory peer and former minister Lord Bates and has donated £30,000 to the Tories.


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