Wales will have to find money to continue free Covid testing says UK Government’s Welsh representative
The Welsh Government will have to find its own money if it wants to continue free Covid testing, the UK Government’s Welsh representative has said.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed this afternoon that free testing in England would come to an end on 1 April. That means that the Welsh Government will no longer get its population share of money spent on the programme.
The Welsh Government has criticised the move, with First Minister Mark Drakeford saying that “any decision to change the existing National Testing Programme would be premature and reckless”.
The UK Government’s Welsh Secretary, Simon Hart, however, said that Wales could continue to offer tests for free but would have to find the money out of its own budget to do so.
“We have to learn to live with COVID,” he said. “The Prime Minister has outlined a balanced plan to help us achieve that.
“Mass testing costs around £2 billion per month – surely our resource, funding and effort is a better use with a more targeted approach?
“If Welsh Government want to continue funding blanket testing going forward then that is a decision for them, they already have the adequate resource and funding to do so.
“This will mean tough decisions against other priorities, but that’s what mature governance is all about.”
Earlier Mark Drakeford said that tests had played a pivotal role in breaking chains of transmission and it was “essential that this continues”.
“Any decision to effectively turn off the tap on our National Testing Programme, with no future plans in place to reactivate it, would put people at risk,” he said.
“In Wales, we’ll continue to make decisions to protect the health of people based on the scientific evidence available to us.”
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also expressed concern over the plans.
“The reality of UK finance flows means this decision determines the money devolved administrations (paid for by taxpayers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have for testing,” she said.
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Ahhh Tories Shafting people,
It’s what their good at!
Well that’s OK because thanks to the theft and corruption by Hart’s mates in London, Wales has just had the first couple of hundred million under Barnett with hundreds more millions to come.
Here we go again the English government still stealing the money from wales 🏴
Earlier today there was an article describing Tory shadow ministers in the Senedd putting forward their view on what makes Welsh children best prepared for job market of the future. It was a good example that valuable political contributions can come from different parties. This afternoon there is now Simon Hart, Welsh but in Westminster, putting forward this s**t as part of protecting Boris job, pandering to right wing of his political party and those wealthy individuals outside of government who The Times have revealed were paying to say that covid restrictions should be eased while we were still in… Read more »
Hart is from Wolverhampton and I think he would hate to hear himself described as being Welsh.
Hart is a latter-day quisling.
Dic Sion Dafydd
Drakeford and Labour in Wales want to keep us in this disgusting and outdated system. They just hope to maybe change the master. And even then, if Wales voted for a party different to England’s Labour vote, we’d face the same unfair treatment and manipulation if our policies and priorities diverged. This is just a time of heightened interest and concern that is showing the “UK” for what it is. Two cheeks of the same a**e, and all we get is s**t. Sorry. I am just sick of this now. The system itself is rotten to its core. We need… Read more »
Hart, the voice of Boris in Wales, making sure we know our place, while protecting the financial interests of the English gov, as usual.
No ! Just give us the money we are owed from HS2 and we’ll fund free testing ourselves. Better still allow us independence – we’ll find the money somehow. Particularly, as we’ll be putting people first instead of servicing Russian oligaths !
So if Wales decided first to end all its Covid restrictions leaving England in the same position Wales find itself now would Simon Hart say the same of England and demand Boris Johnson fund out of their block English Covid tests. Simple answer. NO!
This Quisling should b*gg*r off to England.