We’re all paying for dodgy PPE
Exposing dodgy PPE contracts and government waste of taxpayers’ money
Last month I spoke in Parliament about the billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money wasted on unusable personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid pandemic.
At the time of writing, Labour has just pushed through a vote to force the government to publish documents surrounding the £200 million given to a company linked to Tory Baroness Michelle Mone. She pushed the contract through the ‘VIP fast lane’, even though the company didn’t even exist at the time. Incredibly, she seems to have benefited by £29 million.
This seems to be just one of many examples of corruption surrounding the government’s handling of the pandemic. Ministers flushed billions down the drain on gloves, gowns and goggles that were overpriced, unusable or undelivered.
Even worse, we’re all still picking up the daily tab for overseas storage of PPE deemed unfit for use. Several of you have written to me about this and I can assure you, we’re not letting go of this scandal. It’s our money and we want it back.
Demanding a better bus service
Many of you have written to me about your frustration with Bristol’s bus services. With Bristol City Centre now a designated Clean Air Zone, our city needs affordable, well-connected and frequent public transport. I was concerned to hear that First Bus will be temporarily cancelling over 1,450 routes due to a shortage of bus drivers, including many services running down Gloucester Road.
When this was announced, I demanded an urgent meeting with First West of England’s Managing Director. I was pleased to learn that First Bus have recently seen an uptick in driver applications. We also discussed government support for the struggling transport sector, something I will take further with my Shadow Transport colleagues.
Climate solutions in our communities
In December I visited a community wind turbine project in Bristol, as part of a Parliamentary study programme into renewable energy. It was fascinating to learn how a community group is building England’s tallest wind turbine in Avonmouth.
The current energy price crisis is yet another reason we need to invest more in renewable energy. While the government is opening new coal mines (seriously?), community groups and individuals are taking forward the solutions to climate change. But we also need the government to step up. Labour plans to invest £28 billion a year into solutions like wind turbines, solar power and insulating homes.
I hope you had a restful break over Christmas. I look forward to seeing many of you over the course of 2023.
Happy New Year!