UK will be exposed to paying pandemic cost risks for decades: Reports
The British government will be exposed to financial risks for decades over the estimated £372 billion it spent on pandemic-containing measures, according to two reports by UK parliament's Public Accounts Committee.
Over 2 billion pounds had been spent on unusable protective equipment, showed the reports Sunday on the response by the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson to the pandemic.
The PAC warned the government’s spending will expose taxpayers to “significant financial risks for decades to come,” saying lessons must be learned before a promised public inquiry due to be held in 2022.
"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.
“If coronavirus is with us for a long time, the financial hangover could leave future generations with a big headache.”
The PAC underlined an estimated loss of 26 billion pounds through fraud and repayment default from loans granted to businesses during the pandemic as an example of the current financial risk.
According to the committee’s second report, which showed there had been "unacceptably high" levels of wasteful spending, the amount of money spent purchasing unsuitable personal protective equipment (PPE) equates to over 2 billion pounds of public money.