Dozens of British firms offering PPE “ignored” by government, says Labour

Sienna Rodgers

Dozens of British firms offering much-needed personal protective equipment have been “ignored” by government, the Labour Party has revealed.

36 British companies have contacted the opposition since the weekend to say they have offered help with the provision of PPE for frontline staff but “not received a reply”.

The details of these companies have been passed on to the government by Labour in an effort to support the national drive to adequately equip NHS and care workers.

Half of the companies agreed to be named in public, as follows:

Company Location Offer
CQM Learning Sheffield 8,000 face shields per day
RDD Creative Leicester 8,000 face shields per day
The Appeal Group Ltd Bristol 10,000 plastic shields each week
Isaa Exchange Ltd Birmingham 250,000 plastic aprons, masks
Network Medical Products Ripon 100,000 face visors per week
Bella Gonshorovitz Unknown 500 gowns per week
Island Canvas Isle of Wight Scrubs and gowns
G Fashion Croydon Face masks
Bones and Rozes Historical Clothing Sheffield 100–175 gowns per week
Highbury Design Nottingham Face shields
London Tradition London Scrubs and gowns
The Whent Bath Gowns, masks, gloves, visors, tests
GNS Legal Ltd Birmingham Scrubs and gowns
C L Rye Trading Ltd Southend Supplying masks and gowns from Germany
Diecut Global Preston PPE equipment
Windles Group Manufacturing Thame Visors
Unitech Newport PPE
HPE Consultancy Ltd Leeds Masks, gowns, scrubs, hand gel, ventilators

Below is the full text of Rachel Reeves’ latest letter to Michael Gove.

Dear Michael,

Since my letter to you at the weekend, I have been contacted by a great number of UK manufacturing and textiles companies who state that they have the capacity to manufacture Personal Protective Equipment and have contacted the Government to offer to do so, but have heard nothing back.

As the Labour Party have made clear, we want to help the Government in the national effort to defeat the Coronavirus, and that is why I wanted to pass the details of these offers on to you at the earliest opportunity.

You and your officials and those at the Department for Health and Social Care will be best placed to validate what capability and capacity these firms have, but as they have not received a reply after contacting the Government, I wanted to ensure that the Cabinet Office was aware of them.

Of these firms, if just one, five or 10 were able to contribute to the national effort of ensuring that our NHS and care workers – and indeed anybody who needs to use some form of Personal Protective Equipment and clothing – could be better protected, or just one hospital or care home were able to access adequate supplies of the PPE they need, I know you will agree that that would go a long way and make a big difference.

Unique Disposables in Bolton; the Appeal Group in Bristol, and Network Medical Products in Ripon are among the firms that have offered to provide items of essential protective equipment in the tens of thousands.

Some firms that I have heard from, such as CQM Learning, based in Sheffield, have been dealing with hospitals, care homes, other care providers, GP surgeries and pharmacies directly, despite having no response from Government. And, despite acute concerns within our health service about our depleting stock of protective visions, CQM were extremely surprised to be asked to export 20,000 visors this week.

I have spoken this week to a number of medical professionals who are hugely concerned about diminishing supplies of full-length gowns, masks, and protective visors, and about the implications for their own health and – most of all – for their loved ones. Workers in social care, too, are desperate for the equipment they need and, in far too many cases, have not yet seen.

It is clear that far more needs to be done to procure adequate supplies of PPE, and that the Government’s existing approach of relying on importing PPE from overseas and turning to big-name UK manufacturers is not delivering the supply that is needed.

I would therefore like to ask:
How many companies have contacted the government to offer to manufacture PPE?
How many of these offers have been replied to?
How many of these businesses have been commissioned to manufacture PPE, and what forms? Please list each business, the volumes manufactured by each business and the dates the government made and received the orders.
What measures have been taken to ensure these offers are processed and responded to more quickly?
We need Government to strain every sinew and utilise untapped resources in UK manufacturing, to deliver essential equipment to frontline workers. This must be a national effort which leaves no stone unturned.

As an appendix to this letter, I enclose details of these companies and their offers.

Yours sincerely,

Rachel Reeves
Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

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