Crompton Liberal Democrat Councillor Louie Hamblett who is the Shadow Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care expressed alarm at the recent announcement by the government to end free COVID tests.
Councillor Hamblett said: “Charging people for the tests they need to safely see vulnerable loved ones is a tax on caring, that risks leaving millions of people in lockdown by stealth. Throughout the pandemic, people have been trying hard to do the right thing and keep others safe. The Government should not be making that harder.”
The latest figures show that every week nearly four million people take regular Covid tests, taking two tests a week on average. This includes people who take tests to protect their elderly relatives and friends, or vulnerable workers who work in people-facing industries such as hospitality and are concerned about their health.
For more information on the announcements on ending free testing, ending isolation payments and ending contact tracing, see Covid: England ending isolation laws and mass free testing on the BBC website.
Those people now face an average hit of £534 a year, assuming lateral flow tests cost around £5.80 each. This is based on the average costs of a lateral flow test in similar Western countries including Belgium, France, Spain and the US.
Councillor Hamblett added: “Yet again, hard-working people are being asked to choose between their weekly shop or paying to see loved ones in care homes or hospitals. Surely such a measure should not be passed?”