Hucknall councillor calls for Covid testing kits to remain free to all

A Hucknall councillor has condemned suggestions that free lateral flow tests are to be axed by the Government.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 11:32 am

Reports in the Sunday Times said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was planning to announce the charges within weeks, scrapping free lateral flow tests and and the country would have to start ‘living with Covid’.

Speaking to Sky News, Michael Gove MP, the housing, communities and local government secretary, did not deny the option was being looked at by the Government.

But also speaking to Sky News, Nadhim Zahawi MP, the education secretary, denied there were any plans to phase out free lateral flow tests.

Coun John Willmott has called for the Government to keep lateral flow test kits free for all to use. Photo: Hugh Hastings/Getty Images

And Coun John Wilmott (Ash Ind), who represents Hucknall North on both Ashfield District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council, said the testing kits must remain free for everyone to obtain.

He said: “I’ve spent the week, desperately trying to access lateral flow test kits for residents in Hucknall.

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"Covid cases are going through roof in Hucknall – with the highest number of positive cases since the first lockdown in March 2020.

"The reality is that people will simply not get tested and this will skew the figures to irrelevance.

"The Government face tough choices as we learn to live with Covid – this is not the correct one, however, and we’ll fight to keep lateral flow testing kits free for all.”

Coun David Martin (Ash Ind), the Independent Alliance spokesperson at County Hall, added: “Already testing kits are for sale by private companies.

“If the Tory Government introduce charges for tests - it will completely set the fight back and impact the poorest already beset by a 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.

“It is crazy, unfair and we will fight tooth and nail against this.

“I will be raising this urgently with Nottinghamshire’s director of public health urgently and I am calling on Nottinghamshire County Council to set out its opposition for any cost to test.

"It will be a disaster for our county and the country as a whole – people shouldn’t be priced out of testing for Covid.”