UK awards £1.7 billion in coronavirus-related contracts
In the three months from March to May 2020 the UK government awarded at least £1.7 billion in contracts to private companies, most of them without a competitive tender process under emergency procurement measures put in place in March. A quarter of the 400 contracts that government departments have published have gone to companies that have not previously carried out government work, and at least seven were worth more than £100 million. The largest that has been published was a £234 million Department of Education contract with Edenred to deliver supermarket vouchers to families who would normally qualify for free school meals. Four of the largest contracts for COVID-19 testing services went to Hologic (£151 million), Randox Laboratories (£133 million), and Life Technologies (£64 million). Departments are required to publish contracts within 30 days, but some have yet to appear, such as the contracts for creating the seven Nightingale field hospitals for NHS England or for the new contact tracing programme.
Publication: Financial Times
Writer: Tabby Kinder and Gill Plimmer