A CONSERVATIVE town councillor for Stroud has issued a robust defence after his company was hit by accusations of favouritism.

Steve Dechan’s company P14 Medical, based in Bath Road, Stroud, was given Government contracts to supply face shields worth £120m.

On Friday the BBC ran an article in which Labour shadow health minister Justin Madders said the contracts raised serious questions due to Mr Dechan’s political affiliation with the Conservatives.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Madders said: “This company’s connections to the Conservative Party appear to be stronger than their experience in delivering PPE.

“Serious questions need to be asked about how they managed to obtain such a lucrative contract without any track record.”

Speaking to the SNJ on Monday, Mr Dechan said the contracts were awarded due to the company’s experience and expertise and not due to connections with the Government.

Mr Dechan said that Mr Madders has since apologised for the claims.

“We have been doing PPE for five years, and we already had approved NHS suppliers,” he said.

“Mr Madders was unaware of that and he apologised when we had a conversation on the telephone as he realised we were a proper PPE supplier.

“We were given the contract because we provided kit very quickly into the Nightingale exCeL London.

“They asked us for high end PPE and we did it really quickly and to a very high standard, and the Department for Health and Social Care said to us what other PPE can you do and I said we can do gowns and face shields.”

The Government said it had a ‘robust process’ to ensure high quality PPE and commercial ‘due diligence’.

P14 Medical was awarded two contracts worth a total of £120m to supply PPE to the DHSC. The deal was the third largest PPE contract awarded by the department that the Government has published so far.

Mr Dechan told the BBC: “We are an expert company that has been in medical supplies for eight years including PPE that has managed to deliver on a big contract that the ‘big companies’ could not.

“I only know a couple MPs through local campaigning on issues, only met ministers (no current ones) on [general election] campaign trails. Never discussed PPE.”

He added: “We are so proud that we stood up and unlike many got it done and protected our customers.”

It said it had saved the government £55m on its face shield contracts, which had been completed “ahead of time and on budget”.

In a statement, the Department for Health and Social Care said: “We have been working around the clock to deliver PPE to protect people on the frontline during this global pandemic.

“Almost 28 billion items of PPE have been ordered from UK-based manufacturers and international partners to provide a continuous supply over the coming months.

“We have a robust process to ensure orders are of high-quality standard and meet commercial due diligence.”