Hancock ‘gifted’ company shares just days before big NHS contract win

Matt Hancock was handed shares in a family-run firm that later went on to win a lucrative NHS contract.

Matt Bodell
16 April 2021
Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock has today been publically accused of “cronyism”.

The Health Secretary has today been accused of “cronyism” after it was revealed he owned shares in a company that won a lucrative NHS contract.

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Matt Hancock was handed shares in a family-run firm that later went on to win a lucrative NHS contract.

Records show that document-shredding firm Topwood Ltd was awarded a £150,000 multi-year NHS contract for confidential waste disposal last month. Mr. Hancock was handed shares in the company just days before the firm, part-owned by his sister horse trainer Emily Gilruth, won the contract.

The health secretary declared the shares in the House of Commons register of members’ interests on 19 March.

Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth has today written to the Cabinet Secretary to raise his concerns.

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In a letter he writes; “Topwood Ltd successfully won a tender competition to secure a place on an NHS Shared Business Services framework for “confidential waste destruction and disposal” at the beginning of 2019, the Health Secretary failed to declare a personal connection.

“It is also not clear whether Mr Hancock discussed his family’s involvement in the firm with the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Care at the time when the contract was awarded. Subsequently, Mr Hancock was gifted more than 15% of shares in this company.

Mr Ashworth continued; “This is a matter of the upmost importance for the protection of democracy in our country and I urge you to take full and thorough action. You must insist the Health Secretary explain himself and make that explanation available to the public.

“I seek your judgement on whether Matt Hancock’s behaviour in this instance is a breach of the Ministerial code; all those in Government who have acted inappropriately must be held to account.”

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A government spokesman responded to the news; “Mr Hancock has acted entirely properly in these circumstances.

“All declarations of interest have been made in accordance with the ministerial code. Ministers have no involvement in the awarding of these contracts, and no conflict of interest arises.”

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