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 LFTs, 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.”

 

 

ENDS

 

Full Text of the Letter to the Secretary of State for Health

 

Dear Secretary of State

 

Free Lateral Flow Tests

 

We were extremely concerned to hear reports that the Government is considering scrapping free lateral flow tests (LFT).

 

Regular testing is vital for keeping infections under control and avoiding the need for future restrictions at a later date. As the country and the economy continues to open up, regular testing will enable us to do so safely and carefully. Introducing a charge for LFTs would be a strong disincentive to people doing routine tests, and a barrier to many on low incomes who are currently faced with a cost of living crisis.

 

Throughout the pandemic we have seen people making enormous sacrifices in order to do the right thing and protect others. We know that people will continue to do this, but scrapping free LFTs will only serve as another barrier when the Government should be doing everything it can to empower and enable people to go about their daily lives safely.

 

Tower Hamlets Council has worked hard to ensure that test kits are available at sites across the borough, including in libraries, pharmacies and on high-streets, and we have also worked hard alongside our partners across the borough to encourage our residents to take regular tests.

 

We understand the financial cost of offering free LTFs, however by scrapping them we risk a much-reduced rate of regular testing which could lead to much more costly restrictions in the future.

 

Scrapping free lateral flow tests would be penny-wise and pound-foolish, and we urge to you keep tests free.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mayor John Biggs

Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing

Link to Instagram Link to Twitter Link to YouTube Link to Facebook Link to LinkedIn Link to Snapchat Close Fax Website Location Phone Email Calendar Building Search