Documents obtained by Sky News purportedly show that senior executives from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which was enlisted to aid with the testing regime, are paid more than £7,000 ($9,100) for a day’s work. The shocking daily rate is equivalent to an annual salary of around £1.5 million ($1.95 million). The Guardian later corroborated the story.
Individual consultants from the firm take home up to £2,400 ($3,110) a day, while managers who are overseeing the Covid-19 test and trace program receive £6,250 ($8,100) for their daily duties.
The government has budgeted £12 billion to pay for the testing scheme, making it one of the costliest programs in recent years. Despite its high price tag, the initiative has been fraught with problems. Last week a major glitch led to 16,000 positive tests vanishing from a government database, creating less than ideal conditions for accurately “tracing” the virus.
News of the generous payouts prompted “£7,360 a DAY” to trend on Twitter in the UK, with social media users venting about the outrageous private sector contracts.
Many argued that the UK government had no business doling out so much cash when its own employees make only a fraction of what BCG consultants receive. Just one percent of UK civil servants are paid more than £80,000 a year.
“In a single week govt is paying these senior consultants more than they pay an experienced nurse in a year,”tweeted Sky News Economics Editor Ed Conway.
Dishing out that kind of cash is totally unacceptable, especially considering that the testing system “doesn’t even work,” numerous Twitter users complained.
Others wondered why the country needed test and trace “consultants” in the first place, and suggested the program was a money grab fueled by corruption and nepotism.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government has come under increasing scrutiny for its coronavirus response as the country faces severe economic hardship following lockdown orders and other restrictive measures. Johnson rolled out a controversial new three-tiered restrictions system earlier this week.