21 June 2021 — GoodLaw Project
Good Law Project is now able to reveal the names of six more companies awarded PPE contracts through the controversial ’VIP’ fast-track lane for associates of ministers and advisers. These six firms landed nearly half a billion pounds of public contracts – all without competition – and were uncovered in documents prised from Government in the course of our litigation:
Uniserve Limited is a logistics firm controlled by Iain Liddell. Prior to the pandemic the firm had no experience in supplying PPE, yet the firm landed a staggering £300m+ in PPE contracts from the DHSC and an eye watering £572m deal to provide freight services for the supply of PPE. The company shares the same address as Cabinet Minister Julia Lopez MP and is based in her constituency. Here they are together.
Draeger Safety UK Ltd which is a subsidiary of the Germany-based Draeger AG, landed a direct award contract in July 2020 to supply FFP3 masks valued at £87m.
Urathon Europe Limited, a Wiltshire based supplier of wheelchair accessories, was handed two contracts worth £74m to supply face masks. Correspondence released during our recent PPE hearing revealed the Urathon contracts were ‘escalated through VIP Channel’.
First Aid For Sport Limited, SanaClis, and Global United Trading and Sourcing PTE Ltd were awarded contracts from the DHSC worth a combined total of £28.6m.
The six companies revealed here are in addition to the six other ‘VIPs’ previously revealed by Good Law Project. In April we revealed documents showing P14 Medical, Luxe Lifestyle, and Meller Designs were fast-tracked down the ‘VIP’ route alongside Pestfix and Ayanda. P14 Medical, run by a Tory donor and ex-Tory councillor, was awarded £276m in PPE contracts. Meller Designs, run by another large Tory donor, David Meller, won more than £160m of PPE contracts. Luxe Lifestyle, a tiny recently-formed company with no staffand no experience in buying and selling PPE, was awarded a contract worth £26m after being referred to the VIP lane by an MP.
This followed our scoop last December that Government had handed PPE Medpro, a firm linked to an associate of a Conservative peer with mystery investors, £200m of PPE contracts via the ‘high-priority lane.’
It’s been months of battle to get here. Why is Government so determined to keep the names of VIPs hidden? At whose request did they get ushered through the VIP lane? Documents revealed during our High Court hearing last month show civil servants were “drowning” in referrals from politically connected individuals, which were “consuming bandwidth to progressing viable opportunities”.
The NAO says 47 companies received PPE contracts after being referred to the VIP lane. Our investigations and cases have so far revealed the names of 12 of those companies.
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