WATCH: Get a grip on money being wasted in Covid, Dodds tells government

Elliot Chappell

Anneliese Dodds has demanded that the government get a grip on the “eye-watering amounts of money being wasted in the pandemic” and make sure that public funds are directed to support jobs and businesses.

In an interview with Sky News this morning, ahead of a speech from Keir Starmer today on his vision for the economy under Labour, the Shadow Chancellor criticised the government approach in the coronavirus pandemic.

She told those watching the programme this morning: “During this crisis, we’ve seen eye-watering amounts of money being wasted and mismanaged.

“And we’ve urged government repeatedly to get a grip on this, get a grip on those contracts that aren’t delivering, but also ensure that spending is really targeted.

“You know, when we’ve been calling for a continuation of that holiday and business rates for companies that really need it, we’ve said to the Conservative government: please learn from Labour-run Wales, for example.

“In Wales, they said that support should be targeted at the smaller companies so they didn’t provide it to the very biggest essential retailers, many of which have actually seen their turnover increase massively during this crisis.

“So, it’s not just about the amount of money at all. It really is about whether it’s directed where it’s needed, whether it’s supporting jobs and businesses and it has not been doing enough in that regard over the past few months.”

Her comments come shortly ahead of a speech from the Labour leader. Starmer is expected to set out the choice facing voters across the country as he describes the March Budget as a “fork in the road”.

Addressing the public at 11am, he will outline his party’s vision for a “new chapter for Britain” beyond the Covid crisis and declare that the Tories in government can only deliver more of the same despite repeated promises of change.

“We can go back to the same insecure and unequal economy that has been so cruelly exposed by the virus, or we can seize this moment and go forward to a future that is going to look utterly unlike the past,” he will say.

His speech follows the warning from Labour earlier this month that firms will be hit by a £50bn “bombshell” when April brings tax deferral costs and VAT rises alongside the end of the business rates holiday, furlough and other support.

He will condemn the approach taken by the government towards spending on outsourcing and procurement in the health crisis, echoing a speech by Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Rachel Reeves earlier this month.

Labour has criticised the lack of transparency around the contracting process and this week demanded that the Tories disclose details of meetings between companies and government ministers, MPs and special advisers relating to £2bn of contracts.

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