Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs and Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor of Tower Hamlets and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing have written to the Secretary of State for Health this week expressing concerns at reports that the Government is looking to scrap free lateral flow tests (LFTs) amid these uncertain times.
While Tower Hamlets Council understands the financial cost of offering free LTFs, the cost of the risk involved by scrapping these vital tests is far too high. This would inevitably result in a much-reduced rate of regular testing which could lead to much more costly restrictions in the future.
Tower Hamlets Council has worked hard to ensure that test kits are available at council sites across the borough, and in encouraging our residents to take regular tests.
Cllr Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing said:
“The introduction of Lateral Flow Tests helped turn the tide against the pandemic, and these are still uncertain times.
“These tests are available at the heart of the community – libraries, pharmacies and on high-streets across the borough. If the Government was to charge for these vital tests, this would create a barrier to many on low incomes who are currently faced with a cost of living crisis and potentially lead to another increase in infections.”
Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said:
“Throughout the pandemic we have seen people making enormous sacrifices in order to do the right thing and protect others. The Government should be leading by example and doing everything in its power to empower and enable people to go about their daily lives safely. Instead, it hosted ‘business meetings’ in Downing Street at the height of the pandemic and are now considering scrapping free Lateral Flow Tests.
“This is penny-wise and pound-foolish, and I call on the Secretary of State for Health to keep these vital tests free.”