WATCH: “Billions upon billions of pounds” wasted during Covid, says Dodds

Elliot Chappell

Anneliese Dodds has slammed Rishi Sunak for what she has described as “billions upon billions of pounds” wasted in the Covid crisis and urged the Chancellor to get “far more of a grip” on mismanagement of funds in the pandemic.

In a Sky News interview this morning, the Shadow Chancellor discussed the context of the spending review announcements made on Wednesday and warned that the measures unveiled will knock economic confidence.

Asked today about money being wasted in UK international aid spending, the Shadow Chancellor commented: “If there is mismanagement within the aid budget, then obviously government needs to get a grip on that.

“I have to say I haven’t seen widespread evidence of, for example, contracts being drawn up with the wrong parameters – those contracts failing…

“I don’t think that we should have contracts anywhere that don’t deliver in the national interest and unfortunately, I mean, we’re talking about eye-watering amounts of money as I was talking about before. Billions upon billions of pounds that have been wasted during this crisis.

“And I would like to see the Chancellor getting far more of a grip on that rather than knocking back economic confidence in the way many of those measures he announced yesterday will do.”

The government announced it will be breaking the legally mandated commitment to spend 0.7% of gross national income on international aid during the spending review. The Tories also pledged to protect the spending in its 2019 manifesto.

Labour has challenged the Tories over the amount of taxpayer money wasted buying unusable personal protective equipment in the pandemic after the government admitted it bought 184 million items not fit for purpose.

The call for transparency from the party followed Prime Minister’s Questions, during which Keir Starmer highlighted the confession from the Cabinet Office and accused Boris Johnson of “spraying public money at contracts”.

The Labour leader added: “Will the Prime Minister finally get his priorities right, stop wasting taxpayers money and give police officers, firefighters, care workers and other key workers the pay rise they so obviously deserve?”

His challenge to the Prime Minister preceded the spending review delivered by Sunak shortly afterwards, in which he announced the expected pay freeze for public sector workers and a reduction in the planned rise to the minimum wage.

Responding to the spending review on Wednesday, Dodds highlighted reckless government spending on Covid contracts during the health crisis, pointing out that Tory failure to stockpile PPE before the crisis cost the taxpayer £10bn.

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