A firm linked to a major Conservative Party donor received £546,000 in PPE storage contracts from the Department of Health and Social Care. The timing of these contracts and donations raises concerns about potential influence and transparency in contract allocation.
I n a startling revelation, the Good Law Project has brought to light a situation where a company associated with a notable donor to the Conservative party has secured contracts amounting to a substantial £546,000 for the storage of unused Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
These contracts, awarded by the Department of Health and Social Care, were granted to Wernick Buildings Limited, which was tasked with providing PPE container rentals spanning from April 2021 to March 2023, a company headed by David Wernick, who, over the course of two decades, has contributed more than £71,000 to the Conservative party, both through his business ventures and personal donations, with a significant portion of this sum, £42,000, having been donated since 2019.
Wernick, who formerly held a position as a Conservative councillor and even chaired the Conservative Association in the constituency of Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden’s Hertsmere, resigned from his role a year ago and is no longer an active party member, as per the company’s statement.
A pivotal development occurred during the peak of the pandemic in 2020 when Wernick Buildings Limited secured a substantial contract worth £18.6 million. This contract involved providing site infrastructure, maintenance, and servicing for COVID testing sites located throughout England and Wales. Intriguingly, this contract materialized shortly after a £10,000 donation. Additionally, in 2021, the Home Office granted the company £3.17 million for the construction of portable cabins at Yarl’s Wood, which were intended to accommodate 187 asylum seekers. However, these plans were abandoned merely two months after commencement, raising questions about the “reckless spending” on accommodation that had been consistently criticised as “completely inappropriate” by Members of Parliament (MPs).