A furniture company’s profits soared 4,700 PERCENT after Hancock recommended them for a £ 29 million PPE contract.

MailOnline has learned that the profits of a small family furniture business in Nottingham have skyrocketed by a staggering 4,700 per cent after disgraced former Health Secretary Matt Hancock helped it get a £ 29 million government contract for PPE at the peak of the pandemic.

Monarch Acoustics Ltd, owned and managed by a married team of Stuart and Sophie Hopkin, was awarded the £ 28.8 million contract to deliver surgical gowns after being referred to the fast “VIP lane” by Mr Hancock in May 2020.

The impact on the company’s finances was dramatic, according to its accounts.

Turnover jumped from £ 9.8 million in 2019 to £ 38 million in 2020, and pre-tax profits fluctuated from just £ 267,000 to a large £ 12.6 million over the same period.

At the end of the 2019 financial year the company, which has only 80 employees, had just £ 41,000 in the bank, however a year later that figure has grown to a cool £ 10.2 million.

The exclusive list of providers was set up by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic to speed up PPE supplies.

Monarch Acoustics Ltd, run by Stuart and Sophie Hopkin (pictured) received a £ 28.8m surgical dress contract despite appearing to have no previous experience in PPE production.

The home of the Hopkins in a leafy village near Nottingham, for which the couple paid £ 1.15 million in cash without the need for a mortgage in March this year, is pictured here.

The home of the Hopkins in a leafy village near Nottingham, for which the couple paid £ 1.15 million in cash without the need for a mortgage in March this year, is pictured here.

It enabled ministers, MPs, gentlemen and senior government officials to recommend companies that could help secure PPE for health workers as Britain struggled to acquire equipment in 2020.

Companies recommended by this route were considered by the cross-government PPE team to “be more credible or need to be treated with more urgency”, according to the National Audit Office (NAO).

The companies were not subjected to the usual controls due to the urgency of the situation.

A total of 47 companies were awarded contracts with a total value of £ 4.7 billion per the VIP lane, and companies on the list had a 10 times higher success rate of securing contracts.

Stuart (pictured) and Sophie’s company were recommended for PPE’s contract by Matt Hancock via the VIP lane early IN THE pandemic to speed up PPE’s supplies.

Monarch Acoustics managing director Mr. Hopkin, 39, and his wife are pictured on her Facebook account, with her three boys in a variety of outfits, including giraffes and lions.

Ms Hopkin, 35, also posted a photo of herself pregnant over an NHS rainbow symbol and another with two of her children, all wearing rainbow T-shirts “All in this together” with the government message #Stayathome Protect your community from COVID- 19 ‘banner below.

The Boris Johnson government has faced allegations of friendship after it emerged that some firms had been given access to a High Priority Lane, which has accelerated its bids for contracts for personal protective equipment (PPE).

The government has refused to disclose details of the priority access scheme – but four Conservative MPs and three colleagues have now been named as “referents” in a list of 47 companies that have won PPE contracts through the VIP lane.

The list of lucrative PPE agreements provided by the Good Law Project and published by Politico website shows that former health secretary Mr. Hancock helped in the process of securing work for four separate firms, including Monarch.

Until the pandemic, Monarch – also known as Monarch Educational Furniture – seems to have any experience with PPE, judging from its website or Mr Hopkin’s LinkedIn profile.

In 2016, Monarch Acoustics announced a move to

In 2016, Monarch Acoustics announced a move to “new state-of-the-art” production facilities, opening a factory and warehouse near Nottingham airport but the new building was entirely dedicated to instructional furniture, rather than PPE according to a press release from them. published

He states: “Monarch Education Furniture is a family run business with over 25 years of experience in manufacturing quality furniture. We believe that customer service is the first priority always and we strive to exceed our customers’ expectations for quality, value and personal service. . ‘

On the company’s website, they say: “For over 30 years we have been inventing a unique place in the education furniture industry, with warm customer service and amazing lead times that you won’t find anywhere else.

‘At our 96,000-square-foot specially built factory in Nottingham, we manufacture a wide range of stock units and undertake custom projects to meet the complex needs of the education, healthcare and public sector market.’

The health side of the business appears to be related to the manufacture and sale of furniture used in hospitals, including, according to the website: “furniture for nurses, wards, bedside, clinic and storage of medicines, waiting rooms, surgeries and IT.”

The nature of Hancock’s relationship with Monarch Acoustics Ltd is unknown

Nowhere on the website is PPE mentioned, but in the 2020 accounts registered at Companies House, it is noted: “During the year the company had the opportunity to diversify, due to the Covid pandemic, which involved several different contracts utilizing current suppliers. This is the reason for the significant increase in turnover as shown above. ‘

The Hopkins, who make up two of Monarch Acoustics ’three directors, live in a large modern detached house in the middle of a leafy village about a 20-minute drive from the center of Nottingham, which they bought for £ 1.1 million in cash without. the requirement for a mortgage in March.

Mrs. Hopkin, who is listed as company secretary of the company, also ran a photography business called Sophie Marie Photography (SMP) at one stage.

An online listing on Yellowplace states: ‘SMP offers fun photo shoots, based in Nottingham. Specializing in motherhood, newborn, baby and child photography. ‘

Monarch’s third director, 60-year-old Gary Frost, lives in Leicestershire, according to Companies House.

In 2016, Monarch Acoustics announced a move to “new state-of-the-art” production facilities, opening a factory and warehouse near Nottingham airport.

But the new building was entirely dedicated to educational furniture, according to a press release they issued.

“Monarch Education Furniture is a family-run company that has been producing furniture for schools for 30 years,” the statement said.

‘Our company has grown considerably over the last 10 years and in 2014 we had our busiest business year.

‘As market leaders in educational storage furniture we have developed our manufacturing techniques using state-of-the-art machinery and innovative fixtures.

‘We operate a very strict quality control process in our factory and only ship furniture that we are proud of. We are proud of our craft and offer a high level of quality. ‘

Stuart Hopkin and Mr. Hancock did not answer questions from MailOnline.

A spokesman for Mr Hancock said: “These insinuations of wrongdoing are completely untrue. During a national crisis we were grateful for all efforts to obtain PPE. All bids were handled according to a standard process. Matt had nothing to do with the award of this or that. any other PPE contract.

– When Matt was contacted with this credible offer, he handed it over to government officials. This was right and proper and what anyone would do in the circumstances.

– Deducing any wrongdoing is completely untrue. This work saved lives. ‘

They added that the company’s credentials were “credible” because “they have already delivered to the United States”. It was the duty of employees to do so and all contracts. ‘

Stuart Hopkin (pictured) and Mr. Hancock did not answer questions from MailOnline

Stuart Hopkin (pictured) and Mr. Hancock did not answer questions from MailOnline

A former chairman of the Conservative Party has also been named among several Conservatives who have helped nearly 50 companies win PPE contracts worth millions during the confinement.

Lord Feldman, a former tennis partner of ex-PM David Cameron, referred three businesses to ministers before they were awarded unsolicited contracts using the “VIP fast track”.

Mr Hancock, who resigned in the summer after having an affair with an assistant, reported three in addition to Monarch, while the list of 47 companies amassed by the Good Law Project also showed references from ex-No10 air Dominic Cummings, as well. as senior ministers including Michael Gove.

The companies were then able to access lucrative contracts for PPE equipment using a highly criticized system set up to speed up delivery of essential material while the NHS struggled to cope.

There is no suggestion that the politicians played a role in awarding contracts to companies that they extended to the procurement process.

Lord Feldman denied any wrongdoing, insisting he simply handed over “credible offers to officials” from Maxima Markets, SG Recruitment and Skinnydip.

They were later awarded contracts worth £ 65 million between them. Good Law Project Director Jolyon Maugham told MailOnline: “The scale of public money that has flowed into the pockets of those able to rely on Ministers for VIP-lane treatment is just impressive.

– The VIP lane has channeled vast sums of public money into the pockets of those with conservative ties.

‘It also made it difficult to buy the PPE the NHS needed. State officials were besieged by crappy suppliers with political connections – and that made it difficult to buy the right things. ‘

A government spokesman said: “At the peak of the pandemic there was a desperate need for PPE to protect health and social care personnel and the government rightly took swift and decisive action to ensure it.

‘Ministers have not been involved in awarding contracts.’

.

Leave a Comment