Column: Charging for tests is lunacy and we will continue to fight it

One of the strange tactics of this Conservative Government is to leak potential changes to law, test the temperature and then make their mind up whether to go ahead with it. It’s what I call ‘dip your toe in the water’ politics, says Coun David Martin from the Ashfield Independents.

Thursday, 13th January 2022, 1:00 pm

This happened over the weekend, when The Sunday Times ran a story claiming the Government was considering charging for lateral flow tests to detect Covid.

After an uproar, a Tory Minister trooped onto the airwaves to claim that he ‘didn’t recognise this story’, a story released by his own civil servants.

Ashfield is about to reach another unfortunate landmark – 30,000 positive tests since the Covid crisis started. Unfortunately, my family of four have added to these cases. Fortunately, unlike many others, we are largely asymptomatic.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Councillor David Martin, Ashfield Independents.

I’d say the Ashfield district has already gone way over and above 30,000 positive tests as residents have struggled to get hold of testing kits. I appreciate we have to learn to live with Covid, but charging for testing kits will set back the battle to beat Covid dramatically. It is lunacy.

If 2020 and 2021 were the years of the Covid crisis, 2022 is set to be the year of the cost of living crisis.

Our poorest residents will be forced to choose between paying spiralling bills, heating their homes, feeding their families, or getting tested for Covid-19.

As revealed last week, a private company based in Nottingham is charging more than £100 for 20 lateral flow testing kits. People will simply not get tested and it will lead to more undetected Covid cases and unfortunately more deaths.

“The Ashfield Independents will continue to fight against charging for lateral flow testing kits until the Prime Minister categorically rules this out”, says Coun David Martin, Nottinghamshire Council member for Selston.

As the health spokesman for the Independents at Nottinghamshire Council, I am against the introduction of charging for Covid testing.

We’ve all heard the stories about people connected to the Tories becoming millionaires overnight by being awarded PPE – personal protective equipment – contracts.

The poorest people in places like Ashfield shouldn’t be forced to pick up the bill for this profligacy.

The Ashfield Independents will continue to fight against charging for lateral flow testing kits until the Prime Minister categorically rules this out. We know what a disaster it will be for places across Ashfield.

For more stories from our website click here