Back in March 2022, the Government confirmed that £755m had been spent on storage up to November 2021. However, further analysis by Good Law Project has uncovered an additional £290m spent on ‘storage costs’ in 2022 – with the total bill to the taxpayer sitting at a staggering £1.04 billion – and rising.
Two years after the first lockdown, the Government is still spending £1m a day on storage with ‘VIP’ lane PPE firms yet again the beneficiaries.
Our analysis reveals, Uniserve, a firm who received over £300m in Government PPE contracts after being shepherded through the unlawful ‘VIP’ lane, has been paid a further £138m to store PPE.
The pandemic has been very profitable for Uniserve, with profits jumping by 500% in 2020 to £46m, followed by another huge increase in 2021 to £144m. This is despite Uniserve providing £178m worth of PPE that the Government has classified as “do not supply”.
The company, which shares the same office space as Conservative MP Julia Lopez, was referred to the ‘VIP’ lane by Conservative Peer, Lord Agnew.
The scandal doesn’t end there.
Internal DHSC documents leaked to Good Law Project suggest that the Government dramatically overpaid Uniserve for PPE. Good Law Project has previously revealed that Uniserve enjoyed a staggering 47% gross profit margin supplying IIR face masks.
We have seen further evidence that DHSC purchased 77 million IIR masks from Uniserve, paying the VIP firm £0.87 for each mask. However, during this period, the Government paid another supplier, China Meheco Company Ltd as little as £0.28 for the same mask, manufactured by Chinese company, BYD Precision. The additional cost to taxpayers of buying 77 million IIR masks at the sky-high price of 87p rather than 28p is £45m.
Good Law Project approached Uniserve and the DHSC for comment.
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