NHS Test and Trace DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Baroness Stuart of EdgbastonMain Page: Baroness Stuart of Edgbaston (Crossbench - Life peer)
My Lords, the noble Lord is correct that the Government allocated £22 billion to test and trace in the last financial year. As I said, more than 80% of that has been allocated to testing. He is absolutely right that we have sought opportunities to drive down costs where possible and free up resources. We have taken a number of steps to reduce costs, including through commercial negotiations with suppliers, which have released £2.2 billion of savings, and technological advancements. A further £6 billion of savings were achieved by lower demand, changing priorities and deferred activities during the national lockdown from December to March.
My Lords, we have recently increased the resources available to local authorities—for example, in the amount of money they have for discretionary payments to support those who are self-isolating. The noble Baroness is absolutely right about the importance of partnership in this work, and in particular the role of local authorities and directors of public health, to ensure that the uptake of testing is as high as we need it to be. We find that, once people are tested, they do tend to self-isolate.