£ 372 billion Covid Bill puts taxpayers at “significant financial risk for decades” | London business news
The Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) attacked the government because of the unusable personal protective equipment (PPE).
The Committee is “concerned that despite spending over $ 10 billion, the PPE inventory
The British will have no choice but to repay an estimated £ 372 billion Covid bill that will expose taxpayers to “significant financial risk” for decades to come.
PAC Chair Meg Hillier said: “Given the staggering sums of money that have been spent on Covid measures, the government now needs to be clear about how this will be handled in the future and over what period of time.
“The ongoing taxpayer risk will be in things like arts and culture refinancing loans for 20 years, not to mention the other new risks that ministries across government must quickly learn to deal with.”
The government is under increasing pressure to move the “promised public inquiry” to the pandemic, which taxpayers are likely to see for many years to come, and which is slated to begin next spring.
PAC is calling for the Covid recovery plan to begin in the fall, and the report said it was “clear the government cannot wait to review before drawing important lessons”.
Dame Meg said, “If the coronavirus has been with us for a long time, the financial hangover could be a huge headache for future generations.”
Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said the bipartisan report was further evidence of the Tories’ failure.
Rayner said the pandemic “resulted in tens of thousands of preventable deaths and saw staggering taxpayers’ money wasted on unsafe PPE and contracts handed out to their pals” and called for the public inquiry to begin “immediately”.
The Labor vice-chair added: “We cannot wait until next year for the public inquiry to begin, and ministers cannot toss it into the grass and cover up its failures by refusing to access personal email accounts to reveal hidden information. “