A company founded by a top Conservative Party donor that was paid £11m to deliver PPE kits during the pandemic will now be paid millions more to destroy them, it has been reported.
Clipper Logistics, founded by Steve Parkin, will receive £4.5m to burn PPE including gowns, and surgical gloves that did not meet NHS standards, sparking criticism from opposition parties over alleged contract cronyism in the country.
Two years ago, Clipper Logistics, one of the UK’s leading storage and delivery groups, received £11m of taxpayer money to deliver PPE kits, among £3.5bn-worth of emergency Covid contracts that went to Tory-linked firms, according to Labour.
The manner in which the government fast-tracked applications for Covid contracts from suppliers with connections to ministers and officials has since been ruled unlawful by the High Court.
Clipper Logistics has been handed a contract to incinerate gowns, goggles and gloves that are among an estimated £4bn worth of PPE gear deemed ineffective, according to the Mirror.
Mr Parkin, 62, is no longer involved in the running of Clipper Logistics after it was acquired by US logistics giant GXO in a deal worth almost £1bn, but he remains a shareholder. He has reportedly donated £730,000 to the Conservatives since 2017.
This arrangement has sparked outrage among opposition parties. Labour’s Angela Rayner demanded: “Ministers must explain this.”
Ms Rayner said: “The Tories’ conveyor belt of sleaze and incompetence has come full circle. They handed millions to a donor’s firm with no experience of delivering PPE, then forked out millions more for the exact same firm to incinerate it.
“Taxpayers’ cash is going up in flames as the government’s bonfire of useless PPE grows. Ministers must come clean about these grubby deals and explain how a Tory donor’s company came to be awarded millions on millions for this fiasco.”
Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine said: “The public deserves to know the full details of how this Conservative-affiliated company landed these contracts. We need clarity, not more cronyism and cover-ups.”
“Conservative ministers wasted billions on dodgy PPE contracts and now are spending millions more destroying it. Another demonstration of how out of touch this government really is.”
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