Controversial security firm G4S has enjoyed a 20 per cent surge in government contracts despite a string of blunders, new figures show.
The company – which failed to recruit enough guards for the London Olympics – earned £394million from the taxpayer in 2012-13, up from £328.5million a year earlier. The revelation sparked claims it was becoming the ‘private army’ of the state.
With just weeks before the London Olympics opened in July last year, G4S admitted it would not be able to provide the thousands of guards it had promised. Its reputation was severely damaged when 3,500 troops were called in to provide security at the biggest events.
In the wake of the debacle MPs called on the government to think again before awarding more lucrative contracts to the firm. But it seems to have done little to dent its reputation in Whitehall, and next week it will provide security guarding the world’s most powerful men and women at the G8 summit at Lough Erne.
Labour MP Barry Sheerman, who obtained the figures on government spending with G4S, said he was worried about an increasing over-reliance on a small number of companies.
He warned: ‘The trouble is a lot of contractors are in a monopoly. They do seem to be swelling up and getting bigger and bigger and we are getting to the stage where the over-reliance on one company troubles you.
‘I am becoming increasingly worried about the monopoly position that G4S have in security services.
‘They are becoming the private army of Her Majesty’s Government. There is something going on that I think we need to shine a spotlight on.’