The UK government wasted a massive £37 billion last year on a test and trace program that failed to control the spread of Covid-19, a report from lawmakers said today.
The Speaker of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee said its inexperienced head for government and program Dido Harding displayed “gung-ho confidence”.
Meg Hillier of the opposition Labor Party told BBC radio: “But in the end it promised massively for what it got and it was eye-watering sums.”
“That’s one of the biggest concerns – it’s almost as if the taxpayer was an ATM machine. The lack of respect for taxpayer funding is a real concern for us as a committee,” she said.
When the pandemic broke out early last year, Britain tried to build a massive program to test new cases and trace those infected.
But its caseload soon exploded and the country now has the second death toll in Europe after Russia.
The lawmakers’ report said Harding and the government had relied heavily on expensive external contractors rather than the existing network in the state-run National Health Service.
The report said the benefits of services offered by the program were “variable” and that “only a minority of people experiencing Covid-19 symptoms get tested”.
Overall, it concluded, the plan “has not achieved its main objective of helping break the chain of Covid-19 transmission and enabling people to return to a more normal way of life”.
The government defended the testing program, insisting that more people now receive tests than any other European country.
The head of the UK’s Health Protection Agency, Jenny Harris, said it is “saving lives every day and helping to fight Covid-19 by breaking chains of transmission and breaking outbreaks wherever they are present”. helping us”.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)