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Public Accounts Committee - The UK Government response to the covid-19 pandemic

18 December 2020

This page brings together the Public Accounts Committee’s programme of work holding Government to account for its use of taxpayers’ money in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic is having a profound impact on people’s lives and work, businesses and public institutions. The scale of the UK government’s response, and the financial and economic impact of the pandemic will have implications for public spending and public service delivery for many years.

Since the pandemic hit the UK at the beginning of 2020, the Government has announced unprecedented levels of public spending including support for the economy, jobs and businesses, health and social care, housing and local government.

Drawing on a series of reports produced by the National Audit Office, the Committee is examining government preparedness for the pandemic; how it has developed policies and responded when problems arose; how its response offers value for money and crucially, what lessons can be learned to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the response to Covid and to be better prepared for the future.

You can also follow our work on Twitter using the hashtag #CovidSpending.

Inquiries related to the covid-19 pandemic

Whole of Government Response to covid-19

This inquiry examines the response to Covid-19 across the whole of Government, including preparedness for a pandemic; coordination across Whitehall for dealing with an unprecedented challenge and the implications for public expenditure. The Committee will also be looking at individual aspects of the response to the pandemic including the impact on health and social care and Government actions to support the economy and jobx.

Readying the NHS and social care for the covid-19 peak

This inquiry focuses on the initial response to the Covid 19 pandemic including the provision of personal protective equipment and supply of mechanical ventilators as well as provision of additional funding and support for the health and social care sectors. The Committee also examines the preparedness for a second wave of the pandemic.

Covid-19: the free schools meals voucher scheme

This inquiry examines the free school meals voucher scheme introduced by the Department for Education, at the start of the Covid 19 lockdown in March, to help children in England eligible for free school meals continued access to meals while they were not attending school.

Covid-19: The Bounce Back Loan Scheme

This inquiry continues the Committee’s work on the Government’s response to the covid-19 pandemic. This inquiry focuses on the Bounce Back Loan Scheme: its purpose; how it functions; how it has performed to date; and how Government manages the associated value for money risks – including the potential for fraud and abuse of the scheme, and the risk of default on the loans.

Covid-19: Supply of ventilators

This inquiry continues our work on the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, focussing on the supply chains and procurement of ventilators and the Government’s programmes to rapidly increase the number of ventilators available to the NHS; including the ‘Ventilator Challenge’ intended to encourage UK manufacturers to design and build ventilators; and the purchase of ventilators on the global market.

Covid-19: Support for jobs

This inquiry considers HM Revenue & Customs’ and HM Treasury’s implementation of the schemes designed to support businesses and individuals during the pandemic. The Committee examined the design and establishment of the schemes as well as their efficacy and value for money.

Covid-19: Government procurement, and contracts for PPE

This inquiry examines the cross-Whitehall procurement exercise in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly in relation to securing the necessary supply of Personal Protective Equipment for the health and social care sectors.

NHS nursing workforce

The inquiry examines the current challenges in securing and maintaining the NHS nursing workforce; the impact the Covid-19 pandemic; and the Government’s future plans for improving recruitment and retention of nurses.

NHS capital expenditure and financial management

The inquiry examines underlying issues in NHS capital expenditure and financial management as well as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on financial sustainability of the NHs.

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