Private firms have creamed off ­almost £18billion of health funds during the Covid crisis - and much of it has gone to Conservative Party cronies, Labour claims.

Official figures show the cost of outsourced contracts is even more than the Treasury’s latest allocation for extra emergency spending to deal with the virus.

Many contracts were for vital supplies, such as medicines and ventilators, but included £133million for PPE that was unusable, £648,000 to research “public attitudes” and several deals to firms with links to No10.

A National Audit Office report revealed last month that half of all the contracts were awarded without going to competitive tender – and at least 13 companies who won one had links to the Tories.

Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth

The total cost of the contracts was revealed in response to a Commons question by Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth.

He said: “The Tories have used this pandemic to line the pockets of fat cat corporations and cronies. We’ve seen lucrative contracts handed out to mates of ministers. It’s time to end this ­rotten Tory cronyism.”

It came as the Government faced calls to stop big pharmaceutical firms making a killing from the pandemic.

Campaign group Global Justice Now claims top drugs firms earn more than many countries and must be prevented from ­making huge returns on Covid vaccines.

A recent poll has also found 75 per cent of the public oppose any trade deal that gives US firms greater access to the NHS.

The We Own It organisation will deliver a petition to No10 tomorrow.