politics

Government blew £72m on Covid passports before Sajid Javid abruptly axed them


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Coronavirus vaccine passes are widespread in some countries but in the UK Sajid Javid cancelled plans for the use after the Government spent £72m on the programme

Coronavirus
Covid passes are widespread in some countries

The Government blew at least £72million on Covid passport contracts before Health Secretary Sajid Javid abruptly cancelled plans for their widespread use.

Just 200 events and venues have made voluntary use of the NHS COVID Pass despite the huge outlay from the taxpayer.

Most of the money went to three firms, including one run by the Hinduja brothers, who were embroiled in a cash-for-passports wrangle when Labour were in power 20 years ago.

Hinduja Global Solutions UK Limited landed a £25million contract in May to provide a call centre for eight months, with an option of a further six months, advising callers on how to get a certificate proving two jabs.








Sajid Javid abruptly cancelled plans for their widespread use
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Image:

Getty)



Meanwhile, the French outfit Teleperformance Ltd was given £25million for a similar service.

And HH Associates has been awarded £21million to print certificates and send them to people unable to print their own or use online services.

Covid passes are widespread in some countries but in the UK have only been used at limited events and for foreign travel.

Vaccine passports in nightclubs and other indoor venues were due to be mandatory at the end of this month, but Mr Javid ditched the plan.

He said in a TV interview: “We looked at it properly and we keep it in reserve as an option but I am pleased to say we will not be going ahead with plans.”








Vaccine passports in nightclubs and other indoor venues were due to be mandatory
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Image:

Getty)



Other contracts include £1.16million to design a Covid Pass with IT firm Cognizant Worldwide, and deals to provide IT services worth more than £2million with Akamai Technologies and Entrust Europe.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The NHS COVID Pass is an important part of international travel – usable in 68 countries – and remains an essential part of plans to keep
certification as an option of last resort.”

A source added that Covid passes remain an option to prevent unsustainable pressure on the NHS.


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