The whole country is facing an unprecedented crisis, and British businesses have risen to the challenge with offers of help. Businesses across the UK have stepped up to provide PPE including aprons, face masks, visors and gowns. We have now signed contracts to manufacture over 2 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, and we have already taken delivery of products from new certified UK manufacturers.
There is no doubt that the devastating consequences of covid-19 were exacerbated because the Government allowed stockpiles of PPE to be run down and were too slow to anticipate the level of need that there would be. Given that in a worldwide pandemic there will inevitably be worldwide demand for PPE, do the Government now accept that it was a mistake to place so much reliance on overseas investors?
The Government have been working around the clock to get frontline NHS and care workers the equipment that they need to do their jobs safely and to save lives. Since the start of the outbreak, we have delivered over 1.7 billion items of PPE across the health and social care system within England. Plus, tens of millions of items have been distributed to the devolved Administrations. We will continue to pursue every possible domestic and international option for PPE procurement.