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DISGRACED privateer Serco has seen its profits soar off the back of running the coronavirus test-and-trace scheme, despite previously claiming that it stood to make nothing from the pandemic.
The outsource giant said today that its operating profit was up by 31 per cent to £116 million in the six months to June.
Serco’s announcement came after the firm said in June that it expected to make between £120m and £125m in that period due to its work in running large parts of the national test-and-trace system.
The company has also promised to pay an interim dividend of 0.8p per share following the profit surge, which will be its first payout to investors since 2014.
Serco has raked in millions of pounds in pandemic profits despite chief executive Rupert Soames’s earlier assertion that the crisis would boost Serco’s profits by a “big fat zero.”
Keep Our NHS Public co-chairman Dr John Puntis said that the profit boost was a “reminder that, just as in all wars, some reap financial rewards while others suffer and die.
“It is time to stop feeding the fat cats and to start investing in effective public health services,” he continued, asking: “How many lives might have been saved if £37bn had been put into experienced local authority teams to build a proper ‘test, trace, isolate, support’ system?”
Serco has run into a series of controversies over its role in running large parts of the test-and-trace system, including subcontracting work to firms embroiled in tax-dodging scandals.
Failures in the system have also been blamed for the rapid nationwide spread of Covid-19’s Delta variant.
Despite this, the Tory government decided last month to renew Serco’s test-and-trace contract to the tune of £322m.
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