in the back

Twist & Stoute
PPE waste, Issue 1627
ppe.jpg THE £1.4bn waste of public money on the single largest supply of PPE in the pandemic might be thought to warrant a little transparency. But it won't get any if the supplier of the kit, Full Support Healthcare Ltd, has anything to do with it.

Lawyers for the company's boss, former nurse Sarah Stoute, insisted to the BBC her company was now owned through the secretive island of Jersey – concealing the profits it made on the mega-deal – "solely to maintain privacy for our clients and their family, especially given the repeated press intrusion".

Really? In November 2021 the Eye's special Profits of Doom report first revealed how Stoute's UK company had avoided revealing its taxpayer-derived income and profits because of lax UK company reporting laws.

Then, a year later, Eye 1583 showed how, in a move that looked designed to keep the money in (lower taxed) corporate hands, the shares in the company had already been transferred – in September 2021 – to the Jersey holding company, Stoute Enterprises Ltd.

Life's a beach
So where was the "press intrusion" forcing the Channel Islands move? Er, not until some time afterwards.

Over Christmas 2022, Stoute and her husband visited the beachfront home they had bought in Barbados in late 2021 when flush with their PPE windfall. (They also reportedly acquired a £6m British country house, a riding centre and a Bentley.) It was not exactly a discreet affair, and they were snapped rocking up to a restaurant on loud jet skis launched from a boat they had also bought.

But when the Sun on Sunday published photos of them, the Stoutes immediately sought an injunction preventing them from being republished. They were unsuccessful, a judge noting a "demonstrative and performative element" of their jet-ski beach arrival.

Waste management
While it might have been the health authorities' failure to store the PPE correctly that accounts for the PPE waste here, it's surely time to open the Covid books and show how much of the £1.4bn merely resulted in profits for the Stoutes as opposed to protection for health workers. It might be of even more public interest than their behaviour in the Caribbean.

More top stories in the latest issue:

PATHOLOGICAL MIRE
The cyber-attack on pathology testing provider Synnovis poses tough questions about the company's defences and priorities under its German majority owner.

GLOBAL INITIATIVE
Lord Mandelson's lobbying firm persuaded government officials to attend a policy dinner shortly before controversial client Palantir won a borders contract.

WATT'S MORE...
Police investigating former consultant neurologist Michael Watt have been contacted by around 170 former patients or their next of kin.

BATTERY CHARGE
A deal for the construction of a one-gigawatt battery storage facility on the south bank of the Tees means more guaranteed money for local businessmen.

TURNING COG
A fugitive oligarch has links to a pukka think tank that is running naval strategy conferences for the UK's Ministry of Defence.

A SIGHT TO BEHOLD
The appearance of a couple of the good guys at the Post Office Inquiry revealed more about the shocking tactics employed by Post Office executives.

JULIAN'S CALENDAR
While Australia's PM could boast of "standing up for Australians" as Julian Assange walked free, the UK was exposed for bowing down to US demands.

ELBIT ROOM
The Eye has found more evidence of the UK government's love-in with Israel's biggest arms firm, in the shape of a previously undisclosed meeting.

To read all these stories in full, please buy issue 1627 of Private Eye - you can subscribe here and have the magazine delivered to your home every fortnight.

Next issue on sale: 17th July 2024
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