28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Food parcels for children short measured. Who is getting the benefit?
Adrian Leopard 251

Food parcels for children short measured. Who is getting the benefit?

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All we have seen so far is what is on the surface. Drill down and you may get a shock

I was brought up to learn that one man’s profit was another man’s loss and indeed so it must be. For all the swirls of cash in an economy, that is just circulating money between people and creates nothing. The only real profit which can be made is something like growth of plants or animals brought on by nature or the mining of minerals etc. or indeed the skill of creation from raw products. People who “own” baronial mansions, for all their wealth, are only the temporary custodians for periods during their lifetimes. Once they are dead, they belong to someone else. This principle applies to all of us in relation to our worldly possessions.

Well I agree that this may be regarded as a somewhat simplistic view of economics and I hasten to add that I was never an economics student but I think the principles are right enough. So when I see that food boxes given to children should be worth £15 and then we are told and indeed shown that the contents are in fact worth only about £5, what is going wrong?

As with everything, there is no doubt a profit motive somewhere down the line. If these boxes are distributed by private companies, then they will be doing the job for profit. So who gets the difference of £10 per box? Is it the private company or is it a government saving?

Far be it from me to second-guess how Her Majesty’s Government operates in situations like this but if I were a procurement officer seeking to protect the tax payer, I would probably offer a contract like this to distribute on a piece-work basis, say £16 or similar plus a distribution allowance to purchase, prepare and pack the boxes ready for distribution. If that is how this contract has been organised then it is clear to see that the beneficiary of the £10 short-fill per box is going to the contractor. This is because he is saving it on food costs.

That would be fraud.

If on the other hand the food cost risk vests in the government then it is the government which has saved the money.

Neither is satisfactory but if private contractors are getting their snouts in the trough and able to abuse the system by short-measuring, this is a very serious matter and should be investigated and indeed if found to be true, they should be prosecuted.

I suspect this is not the only example of public funds not ending up where they should. How is the test and trace system operated? Well it is put out to private enterprise. Surprise surprise.

Adrian Leopard 13-01-21

Photo Bret Kavanaugh

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