Keep Our NHS Public members from Protect Our NHS staged a protest outside the Weston Super Mare constituency office of John Penrose, husband of Dido Harding, in the first week of January.
Protestors unveiled a banner which said -- John Penrose, Anti-Corruption Champion, how did your unqualified wife Dido Harding get her unadvertised job as head of Test and Trace.
The protest was part of an ongoing effort to draw attention to the government’s unsavoury practice of awarding contracts to private firms, such as Serco, Sitel and Deloitte, with close political and personal ties with government ministers and advisors without adhering to any well-established tendering process. Other groups such as Keep Our NHS Public, Open Democracy and We Own it have been campaigning on the issue, especially underscoring the wasteful spending of taxpayers’ money on companies which fail to deliver on the 80% testing and tracing target.
Accordingly Protect Our NHS is making the following demands:
- End the cronyism and corruption in the awarding of testing and tracing contracts;
- Sack Serco and instead give the money to local public health authorities which have a far better track record in carrying out testing and tracing functions; and
- Call on the relevant Parliamentary Committee to hold hearings on the government’s awarding of COVID-19 related contracts.