Socialist Worker

Hancock’s mate got a huge NHS contract for vital PPE

Issue No. 2742

hancock

Tory minister Matt Hancock


An associate of health secretary Matt Hancock owns a company that received a ­multimillion-pound ­government contract for the supply of PPE.

Frances Stanley is the sole “person of significant ­control” of CH&L Limited.

New documents ­published by the department of health and social care last week showed the firm was awarded a £14.4 million contract for the ­provision of isolation gowns last April.

Stanley told Byline Times that, due to “unforeseen logistical circumstances” the contract was not fulfilled and the deposit returned to the government.

Her husband, Peter Stanley, had donated £5,000 to Hancock’s office in 2019, Electoral Commission records show.

Peter Stanley and Dido Harding, appointed by the government to run the Covid‑19 test and trace scheme, both hold board positions at the Jockey Club.

Frances Stanley and Hancock were pictured at a rail summit in 2019 held at Newmarket Jockey Club.

The same document show Tory ministers awarded a small jewellery company specialising in rare diamond dealing a contract worth £2.5 million to supply

PPE to the NHS. Doja Limited was awarded the contract last May.

The company’s director has said it was founded to sell “rare diamonds”, and does not appear to have a history of supplying PPE. The company has no website.

It was handed the ­contract under powers which allowed ministers to make deals during the pandemic ­without any sort of competitive process.

PoliticsHome website says the firm has just one employee and has never ­previously been awarded a government contract. It is registered with Companies House as being involved with the “retail sale of watches and jewellery in specialised stores”.


Taxing job of meat inspection

The task of ensuring high standards in the meat industry has become more demanding with hundreds of thousands of additional EU export certifications required.

But, according to Private Eye magazine, “the company with a monopoly on the service is up to its neck in tax avoidance disputes”.

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all meat production inspection is in the hands of Leeds-based Eville & Jones.

It was formed in the late 1990s after John Major’s Tory government outsourced most of the work.

The company has since achieved dominance “because it scrimped on pay and dodged every tax possible”.

One company ploy over the years, the Eye has learned, has been to recruit junior vets, usually from the EU, and pay them just £10 per day for weeks while they train to work in Britain.

Latest accounts for Eville & Jones (GB) Ltd report that it has “received enquiries from HMRC in relation to the minimum pay regulations”.

Also incurring the wrath of HMRC was the treatment of around 60 full-time inspectors as self-employed contractors.

They should have been on the books paying PAYE income tax and national insurance.

Meanwhile top bosses including Eville and Jones have received what the company claimed were non-taxable loans from a Guernsey-registered trust.

HMRC says the company accounts, is looking at “certain payments and deductions from payments made to employees”.

All told, the Eville & Jones group and its directors are thought to be on the tax hook for around £10 million.

But the owners have repeatedly transferred the business to new corporate entities, leaving those with the legal liabilities as shells.

So the two companies with the serious potential tax bills now have no assets.


Murdoch’s man to oversee BBC future

A senior journalist with a leading role in Rupert Murdoch’s Times group of British newspapers has been given a key voice in deciding who is to chair Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator.

Paul Potts, an independent director of Times Newspapers Holdings, is now also the government’s “senior independent panel member”.

That job means he will help pick the head of the body that rules on standards and is to shape the future of public service broadcasting.

Potts is also a friend and former business associate of the minister for media and data, John Whittingdale.

Whittingdale, proud holder of the Order of Merit (Ukraine), 3rd class, once said he had a declared intention “to whack” the BBC.

The pair were board directors of the South West News Service together until Whittingdale became culture secretary in 2015.


Digging a ditch in sea for protocol’s sake?

“Boris tunnel to Northern Ireland set to get the green light,” announced the Sunday Telegraph.

But the proposed route, from near Stranraer to near Larne cannot be used.

That’s because there needs to be a long detour around the northern end of Beaufort’s Dyke.

This is a deep trench in the Irish Sea where more than a million tonnes of surplus munitions, including chemical weapons, has been dumped by the Ministry of Defence.

And a fair few chunks of nuclear waste are in there too. The British government admitted in 2002 that the records of what was chucked in there were destroyed.

Consultations on this sort of nonsense are how fortunes are made for some people.

Might as well make it a garden bridge.


Figure it out

£2.67 trillion

Decrease in earnings of world’s workers during 2020, according to International Labour Organisation

£2.82 trillion

Increase in wealth of world’s billionaires during first ten months of coronavirus crisis, according to research by Oxfam


Things they say

‘Mrs Le Pen has gone a bit soft. You’re prepared to not even legislate on religion, and you say that Islam is not even a problem’

French Minister for the Interior Gerald Darmanin denounces French fascist Marine Le Pen for not hating Muslims enough

‘We’re an island nation unlike, you know, say Australia’

Tory geographer and minister Grant Shapps

‘We’re smack bang in the middle between the two big powers of China and India’

Chief Whip Mark Spencer also has an odd globe

‘Demonstrably not a socialist’

Motion carried by the Haldane Socialist Lawyer group censuring Labour leader Keir Starmer who was previously the group’s treasurer


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