Why is bilking anyone out of money news?
A former Microsoft executive has admitted he tried to rip off the US government by claiming $5.5m in COVID-19 funding for a string of fake businesses. Washington-based Mukund Mohan, 48, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of money laundering in July. And it all centers around loans from Uncle Sam's Paycheck …
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I wonder who's made how many millions from the flawed UK Test and trace scheme with reports of a projected final cost of £37Bn and will anyone be held to account. The IT director and former IT project manager of a household name global organisation told me he'd find it extremely difficult to spend that amount in the timescales applicable.
Well, hang on a mo. The actual story is a little more nuanced than "the government has given £37bn to its mates in Serco".
Just to ensure that everyone is cognisant of the facts about T&T before they pile on to criticize it...
To quote from that link, emphasis mine:
"First it’s worth noting that £37bn is the total spending envelope for two years of the programme – £22bn in 20/21 and another £15bn in the coming financial year, not what has been spent so far.
Indeed, a recent National Audit Office report found that the Government had only spent £4bn up to October of last year (those figures will be updated soon in its spring report). That doesn’t mean the Government won’t end up spending all that money, but NHST&T as it stands is not £37bn-worth of a programme. Again it’s worth pointing this out when influential figures like former FT editor Lionel Barber are claiming that “the cost of Covid test and trace is to date a staggering £37bn”, because that’s not true.
The way the spending is divvied out is also important. The Government has not done a good job of communicating how much of the spend is on testing, as opposed to tracing. Indeed, while the problems with tracing have been all too apparent, over 80% of the total spend is on testing, where the UK is actually doing pretty well – we’ve done around 100 million tests in total and can now do over 1 million in a single day. Again, it’s worth repeating this point because some people still seem to think the Government has spent tens of billions on nothing more than a misfiring app and some call centres."
Before anyone thinks the article author is just a lickspittle apologist for the Tories, please understand that there's also strong criticism:
"None of this is to exculpate ministers. The fact that the tracing system did not stop lockdowns is clearly a grave, expensive failure – not just of the system itself but of other policies like opening up foreign travel last summer, encouraging people back to work and university campuses and not locking down earlier when cases were on the rise."