UK Covid live: Hancock's claim there was no national shortage of PPE last year branded 'an insult' by Labour

In interviews this morning the health secretary claimed that the UK never had a national shortage of PPE last year

11.26am GMT

In interviews this morning Matt Hancock, the health secretary, claimed that the UK never had a national shortage of PPE last year. Asked about the court ruling last week saying that he unlawfully failed to publish PPE contracts on time, he repeated the argument that it was right for his officials to focus more at the time on acquiring PPE than in complying with the disclosure timetable. He told the Today programme:

What’s more, it’s easy to ask these questions, but what is hard is to deliver PPE in the teeth of a pandemic. And that’s what my team did. And yes, there were individual challenges in access to PPE, but we never had a national shortage, because of my team.

Many frontline workers had to ration protective equipment, putting themselves at risk.

Lots of it was inadequate and poorly fitting, and some NHS staff had to make gowns themselves from bin bags.

11.03am GMT

More than a third of claims made since universal credit was introduced have been made during the coronavirus pandemic, PA Media is reporting. PA says:

There were 4.5m claims for the benefit between 13 March 2020 and 14 January this year, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

This represents 39% of the 11.4m claims made since universal credit was introduced in April 2013.

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Source: The Guardian
UK Covid live: Hancock's claim there was no national shortage of PPE last year branded 'an insult' by Labour