LibLink: Ed Davey and Sal Brinton on the end to free Covid tests

Ed Davey has penned a piece for the Yorkshire Post: End to free Covid tests is like a tax on carers.

Boris Johnson’s determination to remove all Covid precautions and his insistence that the public will have to take personal responsibility whilst removing their ability to assess the level of risk around them is absurd.

How on earth are people supposed to take responsibility for themselves when they may be forced to pay up to £600 a year for lateral flow tests at a time when the cost of living is skyrocketing?

Although Covid is not the threat it once was, thanks to heroic work of our NHS staff and care workers, as well as the scientists that invented vaccines in record time, it is still dangerous to the elderly and to those who are vulnerable.

Many of these people rely on carers, often family and friends, to support them, and if not shielding, are taking extra precautions.

What use is a free test for these vulnerable people if the carer they rely on daily cannot visit them for lack of affordable testing?

This week, I calculated that a carer doing just two tests a week would lead to costs of £622.96 a year. That’s nearly 20 per cent of their annual carer’s allowance of £3,500.

For the unpaid carers to endure so much throughout the pandemic and its aftermath, to then be slapped with this huge Covid test bill is disgraceful.

He summarises it thus:

This decision is little more than a tax on caring and a tax on visiting loved ones.

Boris Johnson must take action and ensure that tests remain free for all carers. He must stop taking them for granted and treating them as an after-thought.

You can read the full article here.

Sal Brinton, who is our Liberal Democrat spokesperson in the Lords for Health, writes about the same subject from a personal perspective in The House magazine:  We are desperate to return to normal life – but we must also be safe. Sal writes:

The Prime Minister’s statement last week, has left the “most vulnerable” bemused and worried.

As someone who is on long term heavy duty immunosuppressants, I was asked to shield from March 2020 till last September, among 3.7m others who are likely to get severe Covid and possibly die.

Government guidance still tells us to ask anyone visiting if they have been fully vaccinated before they come into our homes, or before we go into a shop or on a train.

It’s become a joke with my lovely local greengrocers as I shout before I enter “everyone double-vaxxed in here?” But they are supportive and will deliver my shopping to me if cases are sky high in Watford, to help protect me. Under the new arrangements, someone with Covid will no longer have to self-isolate.

Encouraging mask-wearing, testing, self-isolation for those with Covid – and payments for them to do so – are all part of the safety net to coming out of Covid safely. We also need surveillance, genomic sequencing, testing and tracing to ensure we monitor for future variants, as Sir Patrick Vallance warned we will see. We must be ready to stand up all these tools needed to fight future a variant as harsh as Delta.

In the meantime, those who cannot make or maintain antibodies after vaccines, and who remain at high risk of severe Covid need support. Above all that message needs to be transmitted more widely so others understand why some of us still wear masks, and open windows.

Believe me, we are all desperate for normal life to resume as soon as possible, but normal for us also has to be safe.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in LibLink.

One Comment

  • Like Sal Brinton, I too am on long term heavy duty immunosuppressants. Fortunately I live in Scotland where I believe the free LFT tests will continue. As I understand it, “Boris Johnson’s determination to remove all Covid precautions” can apply only to England.

    I’ve also been fortunate that the requirement to show a Vaccine certificate here has also enabled me to continue to watch my local football team with more confidence than would otherwise be the case., A train journey last Monday to visit the dentist in Edinburgh also revealed 100% mask wearing by all passengers.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Simon R
    I'm also rather puzzled by Michael's post to me. In particular, I've said a couple of times that any job guarantee scheme would have to somehow provide for peop...
  • Simon R
    The ONS figures ( show £38 600 was the mean gross salary for full-time workers in 2020....
  • Paul Holmes
    @Mick Taylor. What happened post 2010 is an entirely different matter. The best Target Seat campaign in the world would have made little difference to the self ...
  • Paul Holmes
    @Mick Taylor. Except that what you say is totally untrue of the period I referred to. From 1997 to 2001 to 2005 to 2010 the number of Target Seats grew at each ...
  • Mary Fulton
    Nonconformistradical I would define ready as having our candidates in place in all constituencies. I don’t know how far down the road we are on this across t...