Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:42 pm on 1st September 2020.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Europe) 3:42 pm, 1st September 2020

Is the Secretary of State aware that some people are being refused home-testing kits because the credit-checking company TransUnion has not found their names on the public version of the electoral register? Can he explain why he contracted this American company to verify people’s identities and what he will do to resolve the issue? He still has not addressed the poor performance of Serco, which has failed to trace 40% of contacts and apparently did not even have contact details for over 2,500. This compares poorly with the public health-based systems of the devolved nations, which are managing to trace 90% or more. Instead of breaking up PHE, will he not provide it with the necessary resources to develop a public health-based tracing system for England, too?

Finally, Chris Whitty says it is not possible to open up everything and keep the virus under control. While it is really good to see the number of deaths from covid falling, the number of new cases in the UK is currently higher than when we had to go into lockdown in March. If getting children back to school is his Government’s priority, why are they pushing people back into offices at the same time?