The government’s PPE ‘VIP lane’ for politically connected suppliers has been found to be unlawful by the High Court today.
The so-called ‘VIP lane’ saw ministers handing Covid-19 contracts worth millions to suppliers connected to people they knew on a “flawed basis”, the Court added.
The Court said: “There is evidence that opportunities were treated as high priority even where there were no objectively justifiable grounds for expediting the offer.”
Several contracted companies even supplied faulty PPE – with a raft of aprons and masks from pest control company Pestfix and hedge fund Ayanda Capital were deemed unusable and so were not even distributed into the NHS.
However, the judge found that even though Pestfix and Ayanda received unlawful preferential treatment, they would likely have been awarded contracts anyway.
The case was spearheaded by legal charity Good Law Project and EveryDoctor.
Dr Julia Grace Patterson, chief executive of EveryDoctor said: “We brought the government to court because NHS staff and other frontline workers were woefully unsupported and unprotected by this government.
“Many were provided with no PPE, and many died. The government must never again be allowed to conduct themselves in this manner during a national healthcare crisis.”
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) told the court it “wholeheartedly” rejected the case against it and that the ‘VIP lane’ was rational and resulted in a “large number of credible offers” as government’s raced to fix PPE supplies in the early stages of the pandemic.
“Good Law Project revealed the red carpet-to-riches VIP lane for those with political connections in October 2020. And the Court has now held that, unsurprisingly, the lane was illegal,” director Jo Maugham said.
“Never again should any Government treat a public health crisis as an opportunity to enrich its associates and donors at public expense.”