PPE worth £600,000 could be sold for £2,500

PPE worth £600,000 could be sold for £2,500

April 8, 2022

Ten lots of PPE worth up to £600,000 could be sold for as little as £250 each as ministers auction aprons, visors and goggles to cut £7m-a-month storage bill

  • More than three million goggles, visors, aprons and hand sanitisers being sold
  • The move is a bid to offload billions of pounds-worth of unused items 
  •  No10 has come under fire for wasting money on PPE after £8.7billion written off

Ten lots of PPE bought with £600,000 of taxpayers’ cash could be sold for as little as £250 in a bid to avoid rocketing storage costs.

More than 3million goggles, visors, aprons and hand sanitisers are being auctioned off by the Government, which wasted billions of pounds on protective gear that was never used during the pandemic. 

Officials argue the move is the best way forward, with PPE storage costs reportedly running at around £7million-a-month. 

Labour today accused the Government of buying ‘useless PPE’ and giving it away ‘for virtually nothing’.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting added: ‘If they hadn’t been so wasteful with the public’s money, the Government might not need to raise taxes on working people in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.’

However, No10 has argued 97 per cent of the PPE it bought was suitable and it is working to recover costs ‘wherever possible’.

It comes after MailOnline last month revealed the Government’s stash of wasted PPE includes more than 1billion visors. 

Ministers spent £14.8billion on securing PPE in the first year of Covid, according to annual Department of Health accounts. 

But roughly £8.7billion was written off, in a staggering illustration of No10’s waste.

Much of the kit, comprising masks, gowns and aprons, was faulty or not used before its sell-by date. 

Ministers also paid hugely over the odds as demand skyrocketed in March 2020, and were left with equipment that later crashed in value.

More than three million goggles, visors, aprons and hand sanitisers are being auctioned off by the Government (pictured). The auction, which ends at 2pm on Tuesday, is a bid to offload items bought for billions of pounds during the pandemic that were never used

The Government’s stash of PPE, which is being sold on auctioning website Ramco, is split into 10 lots.

It includes 129,600 goggles, 48,000 visors, 3.1million aprons and 23,040 bottles of hand sanitiser. 

HOW MUCH IS THE PPE BEING AUCTIONED FOR? 

LOT ONE: 64,800 protective goggles

starting price: £250

current bid: none

estimated cost: £117,936

LOT TWO: 64,800 protective goggles

starting price: £250

current bid: £260

estimated cost: £117,936

LOT THREE: 24,000 face visors

starting price: £250

current bid: £250

estimated cost: £43,680

LOT FOUR: 24,000 face visors

starting price: £250

current bid: £310

estimated cost: £43,680

LOT FIVE: 187,200 aprons

starting price: £250

current bid: £250

estimated cost: £9,360

LOT SIX: 187,200 aprons

starting price: £250

current bid: £260

estimated cost: £9,360

LOT SEVEN: 1,382,400 aprons

starting price: £250

current bid: £310

estimated cost: £69,120

LOT EIGHT: 1,382,400 aprons

starting price: £250

current bid: £360

estimated cost: £69,120

LOT NINE: 11,520 bottles of sanitiser

starting price: £250

current bid: £250

estimated cost: £70,732.80

LOT TEN:  11,520 bottles of sanitiser

starting price: £250

current bid: none

estimated cost: £70,732.80

Bids currently stand at just £250 on some of the lots, despite Labour estimating some cost up to £120,000. 

Successful buyers, who have until 2pm on Tuesday to make a bid, are told to collect the items from the holding site in Skegness, Lincolnshire.  

The Department of Health’s website states it has dished out more than 19.1billion items of PPE to frontline healthcare staff.

But it is now looking at ways to ‘reduce the levels of stock of PPE where we have an excess quantity’.

It said the approach will ‘reduce the costs to the taxpayer in storing excess stock’.

The Government is also working with waste management companies to reduce out-of-date stock.

Ministers have admitted that they over-bought PPE but had ‘tough choices’ to make and ‘too much was preferable to too little, given this was about saving lives’.

The Government is now confident that it has enough protective equipment to cover ‘all future Covid-related demands’ including new variants of concern and now has the capacity to make its own.  

A report by the National Audit Office in the first year of the pandemic hit out at the Government for poorly managing vast quantities of PPE and over-paying for it.

It took a ‘long time’ for a large proportion of PPE to arrive and there were distribution problems that saw ‘many front-line workers’ experience shortages. 

The Government paid ‘very high prices’ and ‘hundreds of millions of pounds-worth’ bought in the first year will not be used for its original purpose, the report stated.

No10 was also accused of cronyism after it emerged that associates of Tory MPs had been fast-tracked for lucrative PPE contracts through a ‘VIP’ lane.

Ex-Health Secretary’s Matt Hancock’s neighbour was among those who benefitted from the contracts.

Meanwhile, MailOnline revealed last month that more than 1billion visors bought by the Government are sitting in warehouses and shipping containers, despite only 123million having ever been dished out.

A Freedom of Information request, submitted by MailOnline, revealed 1,138,601,689 visors have been ‘received’ since February 2020, before Covid kicked off properly in the UK. It is unclear if any more are still set to be brought in from previous deals. 

The Department of Health paid out roughly £585million on contracts securing visors.

This suggests ministers paid the equivalent of nearly £4.80 per visor used, roughly 24 times more than the shields cost when bought in bulk. 

And of its surplus stock, 339,154,151 are deemed ‘not fit for use in healthcare settings’. 

SAGE advisors warned visors were unlikely to give ‘any protection’ against Covid transmission in July 2020, with the Government placing its last order for visors at the end of June 2020.

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