UK’s New Strain of COVID-19: The British government will become prone to financial risks for decades to come

Date:

The British government will become prone to financial risks for decades to come from its wasteful pandemic spending, per the lawmaker’s reports.

According to Reuters, an excessive total of 372 billion pounds was spent in the nation’s battle against the COVID-19 virus, out of which more than 2 billion pounds have been used on unusable protective pieces of equipment.

PAC’s Remarks to the Lawmaker’s Report

In two discreet reports which were submitted to mark the response of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s administration to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Parliament has promised a public enquiry into the intricacies of the lavish expenditure due in 2022, before which some lessons need to be learnt.

The committee further commented that this spending would only add to the problems of taxpayers and businesses, introducing many risks. 

As a current instance of financial risks, PAC emphasized an estimated loss of 26 billion pounds through fraud and repayment default from loans handed to businesses to help cope with the pandemic.

“With eye-watering sums of money spent on COVID measures so far the government needs to be clear, now, how this will be managed going forward, and over what period of time,” Meg Hillier, the PAC chair, said. “The ongoing risk to the taxpayer will run for 20 years on things like arts and culture recovery loans, let alone the other new risks that departments across government must quickly learn to manage,” she added.

 

PAC’s Second Report on COVID-19 spending

 

While in the committee’s second report, PAC further highlighted the “unacceptably high” levels of extravagant spending due to the raging pandemic in the country.

This statement was backed by the figures that revealed that around 2.1 billion components of the one-time use personal protective equipment (PPE) were brought in, equivalent to more than 2 billion pounds of the taxpayers’ money.

According to the government, only a minor portion, 0.84% of total PPE, had turned out to be unusable, and with that, it asserts to put them into use by repurposing services beyond the health sector.

According to a Health Department spokesperson, “There are robust processes in place to ensure that government spending always provides value for money for the taxpayer.”

The opposition Labour Party joined in to say that the findings only reaffirmed the failings by the Boris government and said the inquiry into the pandemic, scheduled to be in 2022, should be started immediately.

UK’s New Strain of COVID-19

Public Health England has recently identified a new strain of coronavirus, known as B.1.621, which is currently under investigation after 16 confirmed cases were reported in the United Kingdom.

According to the authorities, not much has been known about this variant, and as of now, there has been no evidence to suggest that it might make vaccines less effective or, moreover, if it would lead to more severe illnesses.

The statements have been made to appease the public and ensure that the new strain does not spread fears among people.

Roopashi Semalty
Roopashi Semalty
A first year journalism student from University of Delhi who is still trying to grasp the nitty-gritties of writing. Originally a Science background student, who found her calling in the world of journalism. A connoisseur of words and a big-time bibliophile who finds respite in the world of fiction. Believes to be a pop culture know-it-all. Finds solace in the Sunday edition newspapers and ranting about her least favourite characters on fandom forums. Has a knack for learning new languages. Can interest people with a wry sense of humour and super-frequent wordplays. Passionate about anything that provides a sense of escapism.

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