Nothing better sums up this Government’s dangerous and short-sighted approach to the pandemic than getting rid of free lateral flow tests on the same day Covid cases reached a record high in the UK. Immunity is waning, Covid rates are rising and people are struggling to get by. Loading the costs of Covid tests onto households only adds to the burden of rising costs: rent, gas, electricity, food, National Insurance. As we saw in the early phases of the pandemic, failing to have the right systems in place can end up costing far more than it saves.
The last two years have shown that our health is connected: it depends on the health of the person standing next to us and the person standing next to them. Our NHS was founded on this ideal: universal healthcare, free at the point of need. Your ability to access Covid testing shouldn’t depend on your ability to pay for it. I was proud to support Keep Our NHS Public’s petition to the Government urging them to restore free PCR and Lateral Flow testing, monitor the development of new variants, and provide people with proper sick pay so they can afford to self-isolate when they get ill.