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Latest 15 December 2023

Sunak took £16,000 helicopter ride from firm who won huge Government contracts

Rishi Sunak took a helicopter journey worth £16,000 to a political visit, paid for by The Phoenix Partnership – a company that has won Government contracts that have so far totalled almost £140m.

We recently revealed that the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has given huge contracts, worth almost £140m and continuing to grow, to The Phoenix Partnership – a company owned by Frank Hester. Mr Hester recently donated £5 million to the Conservative Party and his firm has separately given £156,000 to the Tories.

Now we can reveal that the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, also took a helicopter ride paid for by The Phoenix Partnership to get to a political visit in Farsley, West Yorkshire.

According to official Parliamentary records, the journey made on 23rd November cost £15,900 – chicken feed to the likes of Rishi Sunak, who has a well rehearsed preference for private jets and helicopters over the sorts of modes of transport that we’re used to taking.

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This trip came a day after his Government announced more punitive benefit sanctions and paved the way for yet more crippling austerity in the Autumn Statement.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Phoenix Partnership has made over £137m from DHSC contracts. The company supplies software to around 2,700 GP surgeries in England and supports them to hold medical records for patients electronically.

The accounts of the Phoenix Partnership’s holding company, which is fully owned by Frank Hester, reveal that he was paid £10m in dividends last year. And his operating company has paid dividends of £52m over the last four years.

In December, last year Frank Hester wrote: “We are here for our NHS. We are here to help, not drive profits for shareholders or to grease revolving doors.”

The Phoenix Partnership has been approached for comment.

“None of us can look into Mr Hester’s mind to see why he makes these generous donations to Mr Sunak and his Government – of vast sums of money and helicopter rides”, said Executive Director of Good Law Project, Jo Maugham. “What is beyond doubt is that he has made an enormous fortune from contracts given to him by the Government.”

We will continue to expose where Tory donor’s companies are landing big Government contracts.

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