Vince Cable: Government will 'toughen up' after G4S and Serco scandal
Oliver Duggan has a BA in Politics and Parliamentary Studies from the University of Leeds and an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City University London. He works as a freelance reporter and editorial assistant for The Independent and i with a focus on Home Affairs and politics.
Friday 12 July 2013
Business Secretary Vince Cable has said the Coalition will “toughen up” on private contracts after the Government disclosed two major firms had charged the taxpayer to monitor non-existent electronic tags.
The Ministry of Justice announced yesterday that Serco and G4S – two of the country’s largest government contractors – would undergo investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over contracts dating back over a decade.
Between them the two companies receive around £1.5bn a year from the taxpayer, but their contracts are worth billions because the vast majority run for several years.
Their ongoing bids for public funds were put on hold last night as the inquiries into allegations that they have overcharged the public purse got underway.
Echoing the concerns of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling, who announced the investigation in a House of Commons statement yesterday, Vince Cable told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning: "There's certainly something bad happened here. There is an investigation into criminal fraud and the Serious Fraud Office is looking at that.
"The Government has been looking very carefully at how it gets value for money and has judged that there is some overcharging taking place and we are trying to get down to competitive costs,” he said.
"So there is now very tough auditing of funding and these companies have been found to be overcharging and we are doing something about it. We are reviewing them. We haven't yet identified any contracts that are a problem, but certainly we are going through this very carefully now.”
Asked whether the scandal cast doubt over the Government’s policy of outsourcing state activities to private providers, Mr Cable said: "There are lots of success stories that you don't hear about but where there is bad practice and lack of care then obviously we've got to tighten up.
"I think one of the good side-effects of the financial crisis is that the Government has been forced to look much more carefully at public spending across the board and squeeze out value for money in every corner. That's what we are now doing and we've identified these areas where there were bad contractual arrangements and they are being toughened up.”
The shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, has described the revelation as "truly shocking" and said the police should be called in to investigate Serco and G4S for potentially criminal activity. "There can be no cosy relationship with either company if we are to truly get to the bottom of these very serious allegations," he said.
- 1 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 The jihadi girls who went to Syria weren't just radicalised by Isis — they were groomed
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
Someone has actually got a tattoo of that dress
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This high quality thread manufacturer ba...
£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...
£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...
£18000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...