More VIP PPE Deals

We can reveal that the newly-appointed Conservative Party chairman, Greg Hands, helped Luxe Lifestyle Ltd, a company closely associated with the then Chair of his local constituency party, Mark Higton, land a £25m ‘VIP’ PPE deal. This is despite the company having no experience in providing protective equipment.

Emails obtained by Good Law Project reveal Hands was approached on his personal email account by Mark Higton on 7 April 2020. Three days later, Hands passed the offer onto officials, and Luxe Lifestyle were subsequently awarded a £25m contract to supply gowns and masks during the same month.

When the DHSC initially published the names of the ‘VIP’ suppliers in November 2021, it listed ‘Minster Hands’ [sic] as the winner of the PPE deal. The Tory Chairman’s name was subsequently removed – but not before being captured by the Wayback Machine, which archives historical webpages.

We don’t know how much profit Luxe made from the £25m deal, which was awarded without formal competition. The firm is a year late in publishing its annual accounts and has now applied to Companies House to be struck off the register.

However, following an FOI from Spotlight on Corruption, we do know that Luxe Lifestyle supplied almost 10m items of PPE valued at £20m, which remains unused by the NHS.

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When we first approached Mark Higton, he claimed he had ‘never solicited Greg Hands in regards to PPE on behalf of others.’ But we have obtained emails showing that Higton directly approached Hands on behalf of a third party selling PPE and Ventilators.

Higton was also a director of Covid testing company, ‘Luxe Life Care Ltd’, before it dissolved in 2022. Three months after incorporation, the box-fresh firm was awarded a place on the Government’s mammoth £15bn ‘diagnostic testing services’ framework.

We will continue to investigate and uncover more and more of the PPE scandal. We can only do this with your support. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so here.