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 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...
£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...
£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...
£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...