sunny.png
Thursday January 27th, 2022 1:11PM

UK court: Government VIP lane for COVID contracts unlawful

By The Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Britain's High Court ruled Wednesday that the government acted unlawfully when it used a so-called “VIP lane” to award millions of pounds' worth of contracts to suppliers of personal protective equipment during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

Two groups brought the legal action against the Department of Health and Social Care, alleging its use of the “High Priority Lane,” reserved for referrals from lawmakers and senior officials, gave unfair advantage to some suppliers “because of who they knew, not what they could deliver.”

The contracts included one worth over 340 million pounds ($464 million) to pest control firm PestFix and another worth some 252 million pounds ($344 million) to the hedge fund Ayanda Capital.

On Wednesday, judge Finola O'Farrell said giving the two companies preferential treatment as part of the VIP lane was unlawful. It was clear that “offers that were introduced through the senior referrers received earlier consideration at the outset of the process," she said, though the VIP lane did not give any advantage at the decision-making stage.

But the judge added that even if the companies had not been allocated to the fast-track lane, their offers would have been prioritized anyway, because of the large volumes of protective equipment they could supply.

Supplies of personal protection equipment such as masks and aprons were severely limited in Britain and elsewhere in the spring of 2020 because of an unprecedented surge in demand and disruptions in supply chains due to the pandemic.

“Never again should any government treat a public health crisis as an opportunity to enrich its associates and donors at public expense," said Jo Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, one of two groups that brought the case.

___

Follow all AP stories on the pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Djokovic: Not isolating after COVID infection was 'error'
Novak Djokovic says knew he’d tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month
8:58AM ( 5 minutes ago )
NATO, Russia to hold more high-level talks despite tensions
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military organization and Russia have agreed to try to schedule more meetings, despite tensions over Moscow’s military buildup near Ukraine
8:45AM ( 18 minutes ago )
German president calls for debate over COVID vaccine mandate
Germany’s president has called for a debate over plans for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations in the country, saying such a drastic measure needs to be thoroughly justified
8:36AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
UK's Johnson apologizes for attending lockdown party
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has apologized for attending a garden party during Britain’s coronavirus lockdown
7:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Lockdown party claims add to list of Boris Johnson scandals
Allegations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s staff held a “bring your own booze” garden party while Britain was in lockdown are just the latest claims of wrongdoing to rattle the leader
6:37AM ( 2 hours ago )
UK's Johnson faces Parliament test over lockdown party claim
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a high-stakes showdown in Parliament that could help defuse a crisis over claims that he and his staff held broke coronavirus lockdown rules — or fan the flames even further
5:50AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Health
Energy monitor blames Russia for European gas crisis
The head of the International Energy Agency has blamed Russia for much of Europe’s natural gas crisis
8:08AM ( 55 minutes ago )
Austrian FM: EU ready to help Lebanon if leaders reform
Austria’s foreign minister says the European Union wants to help Lebanon escape its economic meltdown - but only if the country's leaders clean up Beirut's affairs
6:44AM ( 2 hours ago )
Austrian FM: Lebanon can get IMF aid if Beirut makes reforms
Austria’s foreign minister says the European Union wants to help Lebanon escape its economic meltdown - but only if the country's leaders clean up Beirut's affairs
4:48AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Business
EPA moves to crack down on dangerous coal ash storage ponds
The Environmental Protection Agency is taking its first major action to address toxic wastewater from coal-burning power plants, ordering utilities to stop dumping waste into unlined storage ponds and speed up plans to close leaking or otherwise dangerous coal ash sites
9:41PM ( 11 hours ago )
A glance, then grim truth for brother of Bronx fire victim
A New York man who helped take people to the hospital after a deadly New York City fire nearly overlooked his own brother in the aftermath of the blaze
9:16PM ( 11 hours ago )
Hospital helper nearly overlooks brother after NYC fire
A New York man who helped take people to the hospital after a deadly New York City fire nearly overlooked his own brother in the aftermath of the blaze
5:13PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Djokovic: Not isolating after COVID infection was 'error'
Novak Djokovic says knew he’d tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month
8:58AM ( 5 minutes ago )
NATO, Russia to hold more high-level talks despite tensions
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the military organization and Russia have agreed to try to schedule more meetings, despite tensions over Moscow’s military buildup near Ukraine
8:45AM ( 18 minutes ago )
German president calls for debate over COVID vaccine mandate
Germany’s president has called for a debate over plans for compulsory coronavirus vaccinations in the country, saying such a drastic measure needs to be thoroughly justified
8:36AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Energy monitor blames Russia for worsening Europe gas crisis
The head of the International Energy Agency has blamed Russia for worsening Europe’s natural gas crisis
8:36AM ( 27 minutes ago )
Hall of Famer Grant Hill's memoir 'Game' coming out in June
Grant Hill’s path to the NBA Hall of Fame had plenty of pain along with all the highlights
8:33AM ( 30 minutes ago )