Bad credit and unused PPE behind decades of debt claims in the UK

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UK taxpayers will bear the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic “for decades,” according to two new reports released Sunday.

Members of the Public Accounts Committee of the UK Parliament say the crisis has exposed people in the UK to “significant financial risks for decades.”

The UK’s national debt now exceeds $ 3 trillion – an incredible 99.7 percent of GDP – not seen since the early 1960s. Last month alone, the annual interest rate on the debt was $ 12 billion.

One example of the future costs of COVID-19, according to the State Accounts Committee, is that UK taxpayers could be held liable for some $ 36 billion in unpaid loans guaranteed by the government.

UK taxpayers can pay the consequences, according to the State Accounts Committee. / AP

UK taxpayers can pay the consequences, according to the State Accounts Committee. / AP

The parliamentary cross-party committee has a majority of nine members from the Conservatives and 7 from the opposition parties. Labor MP Meg Hillier, chairwoman, said: “Given the huge sums of money spent on measures to combat COVID, the government needs to have a clear understanding of how this will be done in the future and for how long.”

The estimated cost of the government’s response to the pandemic since March 2020 has reached $ 511 billion (£ 372 billion) by May this year.

MPs also criticized the costs of unusable personal protective equipment (PPE). The report says that although more than $ 13.75 billion was spent on supplies, stocks (of personal protective equipment) are not suitable for this purpose. “

The Department of Health and Human Services has ordered at least 32 billion pieces of PPE, but the committee and those who provided it with the evidence estimate that 11 billion have been distributed and 12.6 billion are kept in the UK as central stock.

The cost of storing this stock is about $ 9.2 million per week, with the potential waste level being “unacceptably high.” Meanwhile, 8.4 billion goods ordered from other countries have not yet arrived in the UK.

Until May last year, 10,000 transport containers of PPE had not yet been unpacked, but it is already known that 2.1 billion PPE were unusable in healthcare facilities. These losses are equivalent to $ 2.75 billion in taxpayer money.

There are concerns that the UK is not spending on personal protective equipment (PPE). / AP

There are concerns that the UK is not spending on personal protective equipment (PPE). / AP

The report lists six recommendations, including that the government’s treasury and finance department should work more with the government audit and be more transparent in order to have a fully calculated COVID-19 recovery plan and explain by fall how to manage government risks. finance.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to conduct an independent public inquiry into the government’s actions in connection with the pandemic – with an expected date for the beginning of spring 2022. Many MPs want the investigation to start earlier.

Football fans need to be fully vaccinated

In addition, the debate that Premier League football matches may only be open to fully vaccinated fans is likely to spark controversy. The rule can also be used for lower divisions and other sports such as rugby union and seated events with a seating capacity of more than 20,000. It has not yet been decided whether supporters who have not received both vaccinations can be barred from entering, according to some media reports.

Government source quoted: “It is important that fans can continue to watch sporting events in the fall, so we are investigating the role that vaccines can play in this.

“This will not only fill the stadiums at full capacity, but it will give the added bonus of encouraging people of all ages to go and get their kicks.”

Government Minister for Crime and Police Keith Malhouse does not deny that the government is considering vaccine passports for major events: “Over the next few weeks, we will have to assess what we need to do next.

“As we are monitoring this virus very closely, we are at a critical stage in breaking free from COVID restrictions.”

The English Football League has yet to comment, but contingency plans are under consideration. The Labor opposition party believes that if the decision is implemented, it could cause disruptions. Their shadow sports secretary, Joe Stevens, says: “The double whammy doesn’t prove you are not a carrier of the virus. Checking for access to objects would be more effective. “

Even more positively, the number of new cases of COVID-19 in the UK fell on Sunday for the fifth day in a row to 29,173.

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