MPs call for more transparency over Covid contracts

Dame Margaret Hodge MP wrote to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng urging for for more transparency in public contracts

Dame Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the cross-party committee on anti-corruption and responsible tax, is calling on the government to introduce new legislation to make companies profiting from public contracts publish accounts.

This demand comes after a series of procurement scandals where a series of businesses favoured by the government were given public contracts during the pandemic.

Currently, there is no obligation for a business to file profit and loss statements, which Hodge says makes it difficult to find out how much money is being spent and made on providing essential equipment and services.

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In the letter, addressed to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Hodge said: “Many companies have entered into profitable PPE deals.

“As taxpayers’ money has gone to these contracts, there is a public good in knowing whether the taxpayer obtained reasonable value and therefore how much profit these companies have made from public contracts.”

She added: “This is a matter of transparency and value for taxpayers’ money. The public has a right to know whether the inflation of PPE prices was due to genuine competition in the market or whether it was down to unscrupulous profiteering in the middle of a national emergency.”

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