The Treasury and No 10 Downing Street are reportedly torn on when to end mass free COVID testing, with some senior ministers concerned over its continuing cost.
According to a newspaper outlet, talks are being held in the Government to scale back the initiative that enables everyone to get a free lateral flow test, and some people a free PCR test.
Under the new system being proposed, free tests may only be available to those in high-risk settings such as hospitals, care homes and schools, as well as people presenting symptoms of COVID 19.
Details of a new system are reportedly yet to be agreed upon, but it’s being discussed ahead of next month’s budget, with some fearing taxes would have to increase to continue mass testing.
With both Germany and France ending universal testing this month, the United Kingdom is an outlier on the issue amongst countries in western Europe.
Britain also last month carried out 4,022 tests per 1,000 people, more than Spain and Germany according to figures from Our World in Data.
The cost of doing so is enormous, with a newspaper outlet quoting one source saying that it costs the equivalent of adding 1p to income tax, with some fearing that taxes would have to be raised should the testing continue.
The Treasury is reportedly backing the case for scaling back free testing, pointing to the fact that 90 per cent of adults in the United Kingdom have been given at least one COVID jab.
However, other members of the Government are reportedly hesitant to scale back testing heading into autumn and winter, with experts uncertain whether coronavirus cases will rise throughout the colder months.
Whitehall is reportedly making the case for contacts of those who have tested positive for COVID 19 should be required to take a test to avoid self-isolation, even though arguments for this have been overhauled in the past.
The newspaper report says that of the four government departments involved in important COVID 19 decision making, the Treasury and the Cabinet Office both back changing the system shortly.
Number 10 and the Health and Social Care department meanwhile are more circumspect.
The issue is set to be discussed in spending review negotiations taking place between the Treasury and the Health and Social Care Department, with discussions set to intensify in the coming weeks ahead of the budget on October 27.
But this will make some people extremely mad because the public purse (taxpayers) have already paid for all things COVID, along with those into cronyism and nepotism helping themselves, again and again.
Now the Government proposes that taxpayers not only repay but pay again and again, and since the Government put their proposals out to measure public opinion, people should be enraged, especially given current and coming financial constrictions that could ruin most people.
What will happen though is that people won’t pay for the lateral flow tests and then infections will soar, but then, how will they know if infections rates have rocketed because no one will be testing.
Although I’m not sure why the government were buying these tests because if you continually bought something that wasn’t fit for purpose, wouldn’t you stop buying that commodity, but here we are using them, baring in mind that they’re not accurate, so why are we using them? Unless they just wanted to terrify a gullible public!
Scandinavia appears to have dropped everything including COVID passes and/or vaccine passports, all gone – life has gone back to normal and cases have disappeared – funny that, but for some reason, British politicians won’t let it go. What happened to living with it, the Scandinavians seem to have, or what, are our government terrified for life to ever return to normal?