Local Contact Tracing

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:25 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Kate Osborne Kate Osborne Labour, Jarrow 6:25 pm, 14th October 2020

No, I do not. The Government can put this right by putting more money in, of course.

As my hon. Friends the Members for Newcastle upon Tyne North (Catherine McKinnell) and for Bradford West (Naz Shah), among others, have said, we have to stop calling it “NHS Track and Trace”, as it clearly is not. It has failed, it is wasteful, it is throwing taxpayers’ money down the drain, and the people of this country deserve better. In fact, only this afternoon, as already highlighted by my hon. Friend Mr Perkins, I heard that the Government paid Boston Consulting Group about £10 million for a team of 40 consultants to do four months’ work on this failed testing system between the end of April and late August. Yet our local public services, hollowed out by 10 years of austerity, are being left with no support to pick up the pieces of a failed system.

Our local authorities in the north-east were crucial in the frontline against the first wave of this virus. That is why the Government must recognise their value by extending additional funding for contact tracing available in tier 3 areas to all parts of the country. The Government must ensure that local authorities and public health teams receive the resources and powers that they need.