A RECENT report by the Public Accounts Committee, Parliament’s spending watchdog, has been unable to find evidence that the Government’s £22bn Test and Trace programme contributed to any reduction in coronavirus infection levels.
The report says that “a range of stakeholders have queried why local authorities and NHS primary care bodies were not more directly involved in testing and tracing activities at the outset, given their existing networks, experience and expertise”.
But despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Government is fixated on the idea that outsourcing to private amateurs is a better use of taxpayers’ money than investing in the expertise of NHS professionals.
Indeed, Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget included an additional £15bn for Test and Trace. Meanwhile, he claims there is not enough money to give nurses more than a one per cent pay rise – that will not even beat inflation.
While outsourced private consultants receive thousands of pounds per day, public services are suffering. According to the National Audit Office, at least 25 local councils are nearly bankrupt as Covid puts pressure on finances, and 94 per cent expect to cut spending next year.
This Government has an ideological hatred of public service, and while Boris Johnson says how much he values the NHS (it saved his life), he is cynically using the pandemic as cover while he continues to sell it off. I have searched the websites of Yorkshire’s Conservative MPs for even the slightest mention of these matters – but they have conveniently forgotten they were elected to stand up for local interests.
From: Bridget Duncan, Pontefract.
WHEN it comes to issues of ‘Test and Trace’, I find myself in total agreement with the views expressed by Jayne Dowle (The Yorkshire Post, March 11). As she says, her daughter, and therefore the rest of the household, are now a number as well as a name, and are logged into a system for life. I do not have any capacity on my mobile phone for ‘Test and Trace’ input. This can be inconvenient in the limitations it places on phone usage, but well worth it for the peace of mind it gives me.
Let us hope that as the ‘new normal’ evolves, ‘Test and Trace’ will be one of the aspects of the pandemic that becomes obsolete and is firmly consigned to history.
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