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Cronyism and waste in Britain’s pandemic spending

As Britain scrambled for protective gear and other equipment, select companies — many of which had close connections to the governing Conservative Party or no previous experience — reaped billions, according to a New York Times analysis of more than 2,500 contracts.

In some cases, more qualified companies lost out to those with better political connections, which were granted access to a secretive V.I.P. lane that made them about 10 times more likely to be approved for a contract.

Conclusions: While there is no evidence of illegal conduct, there is ample evidence of cronyism, waste and poor due diligence, with officials ignoring or missing red flags, including histories of fraud, human rights abuses, tax evasion and other serious controversies. 

Waste, Negligence and Cronyism: Inside Britain’s Pandemic Spending


By Jane Bradley, Selam Gebrekidan and Allison McCann

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