'Useless' PPE spend could have covered free school meals

New analysis by Labour revealed that the amount of money the government has ‘wasted’ on a single PPE contract for unusable face masks could have all but paid for free school meals until next Easter.

The government signed a £252 million contract with the private equity company Ayanda Capital in April to supply PPE, including almost £150 million in face masks that didn’t meet requirements for use by frontline healthcare workers.

Labour estimates that it would cost the government £157 million to supply free school meals to every eligible child in the country until the end of the Easter holidays next year.

Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said: “The Chancellor didn’t bat an eyelid when millions of pounds of public money were wasted on PPE that couldn’t be used. Yet when it comes to keeping kids fed this Christmas, he has nothing to offer but humbug.

“This Chancellor has got his priorities wrong. He won’t budge on a circuit breaker that could save lives and livelihoods. He’s waited to the last possible minute to deliver additional economic support for areas under local restrictions. Now he’s letting kids go hungry at Christmas. He’s not helping out – he’s standing in the way.”