Chocolatiers and suppliers of pigeon netting: The Johnson regime’s choices for PPE supply

By Sam

When the corona virus came to the UK the government was moved to action.

A new, dedicated unit has been set up to focus on securing supplies of PPE, while ensuring that specifications match clinical need, supply chains are secure, fraud is mitigated and the best value for money is achieved in a high demand market.”

This is one result of that effort.

On 1 April an order for £10m was placed with Medco Solutions Ltd, a London-based company that apparently only incorporated on 26 March, three days after lockdown, with a share capital of just £2.”

Many other deals have been found involving small companies, most with limited assets according to Company House, some without any employees. There is no competition, no tendering and no advertising for contracts. It seems that many small companies, confectioner, a pest control company and others with no experience of producing PPE have contacted the UK government and have been awarded contracts. Many companies with PPE contracts and no manufacturing ability are likely to look to China for production. Much of China’s manufacturing has ethical production standards but not all. There will probably be some UK companies that seek the cheapest option.There cannot be any control of the standards of production or value for money in much of what goes on in the system. Crowdfunding is enabling a possible means of looking more closely at what is happening. Here are some links that will provide more information.

We are already pursuing a Government over the £108m PPE contracts it said it entered into with a chocolatier and a supplier of pigeon netting. I know there’s only so much of this weirdness you can take but here are two more. First Aventis Solutions Limited.”

Design company Luxe Lifestyle Ltd was awarded a £25 million contract on 27 April to supply garments for biological or chemical protection to the NHS. According to Companies House, the business was incorporated by fashion designer Karen Brost in November 2018. However, it appears to have no employees, no assets and no turnover.”

The department of health and social care today declined to reveal details of the contract or tendering process, or whether a government adviser on Ayanda’s board had any role in securing the deal.”

The British government’s health ministry says it has no record whatsoever of its shambolic attempt to import life-saving personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers from Turkey at the height of the coronavirus crisis.”

Ministers are facing a high court legal challenge after they refused to order an urgent investigation into the shortages of personal protective equipment faced by NHS staff during the pandemic.

10 thoughts on “Chocolatiers and suppliers of pigeon netting: The Johnson regime’s choices for PPE supply”

  1. Ah but such is exactly why the broad shoulders of the union are vital to carry off the full sacks of the monies plundered from the public purse
    From the many
    For the benefit of the Few
    Do not be surprised if some of the Labour
    And Liberal Lords and Peers are some of those with such broad shoulders indeed
    In fact some of them may have the broadest of shoulders
    Know Thy Foes


    1. As far as is known so far (there are 40 or more of companies involved) there is just one possible connection to the usual troughers, i.e. government.

      He may or not have a connection to Ayanda and the Department of Trade.

      I think it must have been the companies that approached the government to obtain these contracts .

      The man chasing this is Jo Maugham (not Maughan) QC


  2. Ferries come to mind (Tories solution to ports being clogged up after Brexit).
    To quote from Laurel and Hardy, “Another fine mess you have got me into”.


    1. Yes, Grayling.

      This is how it was done, according to

      Assuming all of Mr Maughan’s claims are substantiated, since they were all single-bidder contracts they are likely to have been highly profitable with minimal apparent effort on the part of the four companies named. They would have had to find suppliers, obtain quotes and submit them to the DHSC. Any queries would have been directed to the manufacturers. After winning the contract they would have placed the orders and arranged payments and shipping.

      One unknown aspect of this whole saga is how payments were made, to whom and when. International contracts require significant down payments even to get work started. And before shipment the seller would need to have received 90 per cent or so of the contract value in their own bank account; the final payment being made on receipt of the goods.

      Usually, this would all be financed or paid for by the intermediary from his or her own funds. None of the suppliers used by the government had anything like the assets or cash available to do that. Unless they used substantial short-term borrowing, the government must have either paid directly or transferred funds to the intermediaries.

      These were therefore potentially high-risk contracts had the intermediary or the manufacturer defaulted.

      We shouldn’t overlook the fact that all these contracts would never have come to public attention without the existence of the EU’s TED (tenders electronic daily) portal, which publishes details of contracts awarded by public authorities. After Brexit there may be no legal requirement for such continued transparency. Public authorities are not known for mea culpas.


  3. It doesn’t take a great stretch of the imagination to work out what’s going on. Before I stopped posting on wings I did highlight that the new procurement process needed looked at. I see that not once is the name of the company set up and wholly owned by the gov mentioned.


  4. There will be a “Union Unit” to distribute moneys in Scotland after Brexit.

    Party funders, old pals and school chums.

    A pound for you and a pound for me!


  5. There is an experienced company based in Annan Scotland which manufactures protective clothing, Alpha Solway. I understand that they did get awarded a contract from NHS eventually. Such a pity that this pandemic was not used to benefit and grow homegrown UK Manufacturing business?


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