A face mask bearing an NHS logo.
Nearly £10 billion-worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) bought by the NHS during the pandemic has been written off by the government.
The staggering sum was revealed in the Department of Health and Social Care’s annual report.
Labour has accused Rishi Sunak, who was chancellor at the time, of “throwing away taxpayers’ money as if it were confetti”
According to the annual report, the government spent £13.6bn on PPE.
Since then “the department has written down the value of its PPE inventory by £9.9 billion because it was unusable or its market price had fallen since it was purchased during the pandemic.”
Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said: “As chancellor, Rishi Sunak threw away taxpayers’ money as if it were confetti and has failed to get our money back. Sunak’s carelessness has cost our country dear.
“Never again can the Conservatives claim to be the careful stewards of the public finances.”
He said Labour would appoint a “Covid corruption commissioner” if it wins the election “to chase down those who ripped off the British taxpayer”.
Lib Dem health spokesperson Daisy Cooper said: “This is a sickening level of waste. Billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money has been poured down the drain because of this Conservative government’s incompetence.
“To rub salt in the wound, some of this money was wasted on dodgy contracts with Conservative cronies, the vast majority of which has still not been recovered.
“The health secretary should come to parliament and explain how so much taxpayers’ money was frittered away and what is being done to get it back.”