Thursday 11 February 2021 / 10:47 AM Rachel Reeves

Government declines for a sixth time to publish details of companies winning work through its “VIP” fast lane for contracts

Government declines for a sixth time to publish details of companies winning work through its “VIP” fast lane for contracts

In Cabinet Office Questions today, the Government declined for a sixth time to publish the details of companies who have won work through referral to a special “high priority” lane during the pandemic.

 

In November, the National Audit Office reported that hundreds of companies were referred through this route for contracts following tips from Ministers and MPs.

 

But despite growing concerns surrounding contract cronyism, and being asked by Labour six times, the Government have refused to publish more details of the companies awarded work through this route.

 

Labour also highlighted how the Government had previously denied the existence of the lane, despite it emerging in the Public Accounts Committee this week that £1.7 billion of procurement flowed through the channel.

 

Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves MP, who raised the issue during Cabinet Office Questions, said:

 

“With cronyism concerns continuing to mount, this government must urgently publish details of these companies to reassure the public that these contracts were awarded on the basis of what you know, not who you know.

“Waste, cronyism and inefficacy has marred this government’s pandemic procurement, but they seem in no hurry to change that.

“A Labour government would clean up this contracting and make sure procurement works for our public services and the British people.”