A Government Department which has bought more than 1 billion lateral flow tests and millions of face masks from Chinese companies says that finding out how much they, the Government, have spent, and who they have spent it with, can only be done “at disproportionate cost.” So much for transparency and accountability. Taxpayers have a right to know.

Aug 2, 2021 | Uncategorized

It has taken since May for the Government to provide a reply to a parliamentary question which tells me nothing.  Are they seriously saying they don’t know how much money they have spent or to whom it has been paid?

From: Written Parliamentary Questions and Answers <NO_REPLY.HL.QASYSTEM@parliament.uk>
Sent: Monday, August 2, 2021 2:24 PM
To: ALTON OF LIVERPOOL, Lord <AltonD@parliament.uk>
Subject: Written answer to your QWA HL128 received from Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care

Lord Bethell, the Department of Health and Social Care, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL128):

Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much money they have paid in the last two years to companies based in China manufacturing masks and other personal protective equipment; which such companies they have paid; whether there are any complexities in the supply chain which prevent such information from being provided; and if so, what those complexities are. (HL128)

Tabled on: 12 May 2021

Answer:
Lord Bethell:

The information on the amount paid to Chinese companies and the specific companies involved is not held in the format requested and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Personal protective equipment (PPE) has been procured from a number of different sources internationally which prevents the Department from identifying Chinese companies as all companies can sub-contract a Chinese company. While the Department records contracts made directly with companies based in China, we do not hold a central record of any sub-contracting. PPE was also procured through intermediaries and this information is not collected centrally.

Date and time of answer: 02 Aug 2021 at 14:23.

Lord David Alton

For 18 years David Alton was a Member of the House of Commons and today he is an Independent Crossbench Life Peer in the UK House of Lords.

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