UK investigates supplier of NHS PPE over alleged use of forced labour
The government has launched an investigation into one of the NHS’s main suppliers of personal protective equipment over its alleged use of forced labour.
Officials at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) are investigating Supermax, which won a £316m contract for 88.5m rubber gloves as the Covid pandemic began to unfold.
Asked by the Guardian for details of the inquiry, a government spokesperson said: “We take allegations of this nature very seriously and we are investigating the claims made against Supermax. We have made strong commitments to eradicate modern slavery from all contracts in the government supply chain.”
The government made clear that the investigation could lead to Supermax being banned from supplying the NHS. “A proper due diligence process is carried out for all government contracts and our suppliers are required to follow the highest legal and ethical standards. If they fail to do so we will remove them from current and future contracts,” the spokesperson said.