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Matt Hancock acted unlawfully by failing to publish Covid contracts

A high court judge has ruled that the health secretary, Matt Hancock, acted unlawfully by failing to publish multibillion-pound Covid-19 government contracts within the 30-day period required by law. The judge, Mr Justice Chamberlain, ruled the failure to do so breached the “vital public function” of transparency over how “vast quantities” of taxpayers’ money was spent.

The case was brought by the Good Law Project (GLP), a crowdfunded not-for-profit organisation that is making a series of legal challenges related to the government’s procurement of protective personal equipment (PPE) and other services during the pandemic.

Although many contract awards were not published within the 30 day period, the GLP highlighted three PPE contracts to illustrate their case: a £252m contract for the supply of face masks with a finance company, Ayanda Capital; a £108m contract with Clandeboye Agencies, and PPE contracts worth £345m with a company trading as Pestfix.

Full story in The Guardian, 19 February 2021

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