Anger as Fujitsu awarded government contract, despite Post Office scandal

11 April 2024, 10:47 | Updated: 11 April 2024, 17:24

Fujitsu has been given a £155k contract by the National Nuclear Laboratory, LBC understands
Fujitsu has been given a £155k contract by the National Nuclear Laboratory, LBC understands. Picture: Alamy
Henry Riley

By Henry Riley

Fujitsu has been awarded its first government contract of the year, despite the company being embroiled in the Post Office scandal, LBC understands.

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The Liberal Democrats have called for the contract to be “paused immediately”, whilst Labour’s Ed Miliband has told LBC it “raises concerns”.

The National Nuclear Laboratory, which is owned and operated by the government, has awarded the firm a £155k contract for 'software support' until 2025.

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband said “we know the Post Office was an absolute scandal”, adding “we’ve got an inquiry going on and the government needs to be very cautious about handing out these kind of contracts”.

Christopher Head, who was the youngest victim of the Post Office Horizon scandal said he found the news “frustrating”.

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Mr Head told LBC “When there is a pledge not to bid for contracts you kind of expect them to adhere to that. But the problem is these companies have shareholders, and these shareholders demand profitability. It is frustrating”

“Fujitsu made this pledge that they wouldn’t voluntarily bid for contracts within the government while the inquiry is going on – but we all know the size of these companies makes it difficult”

The contract, published by procurement data provider Tussell, is for “software support” and is due to run until 31 March 2025.

It marks the first government contract with Fujitsu in 2024, and the first since the ITV drama ‘Mr Bates vs the Post Office’ – this is in contrast to last year where the company had already been awarded six contracts.

Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park Sarah Olney told LBC “this contract needs to be paused immediately whilst the Post Office inquiry continues.”

Olney, who is the Lib Dem treasury spokesperson added “this company is embroiled in the Post Office's industrial scale lies, which saw over two decades of misjustice."

Imran Hussain, the Labour MP for Bradford East, posted on X “once again the Tories prove that they believe that failure is something to be rewarded, and that they believe no scandal is too great to be a barrier in getting a government contract”.

He added “is it really any wonder that people think the government is broken and corrupt”.

A government spokesperson said: "The National Nuclear Laboratory requires bespoke software to ensure its work remains compliant with operationally critical regulations.

"There are currently no other suitable suppliers and without re-awarding this contract, the NNL would be unable to fulfil its regulatory duties.

"The NNL will consider all options once the contract comes to an end in March 2025, including exploring in-house solutions.

"We welcome Fujitsu’s own decision to pause bidding for work with new government customers until such time as the Horizon inquiry concludes."

A spokesperson from the National Nuclear Laboratory said: "This award notice simply represents a short, fixed-term extension of 12 months to ensure continuity of service as we consider our future options."

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