In Brief

Government to spend £10bn on botched test-and-trace system

Calls for public inquiry mounting as Treasury also reveals £15bn bill for PPE

Taxpayers have had to stump up £10bn for a test-and-trace system that is still not fully operational, it has emerged. 

The Treasury also revealed that it spent £15bn on PPE during the pandemic “amid scrutiny of the government’s procurement process”, The Telegraph says. 

“Campaigners blasted officials for an enormous waste of taxpayers money” after PPE, coronavirus testing and contact tracing programmes were shown to have “accounted for almost four-fifths of extra health spending”, the paper reports.

Labour MP Meg Hillier, chair of Parliament’s public accounts committee, said Whitehall officials have “questions to answer” about the track-and-trace programmes, which “won’t be supporting the unlocking of the economy for some time to come”. 

Matthew Lesh, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, added that the amount spent on the programmes was “astonishing”.

The government has been “ploughing huge sums of money into the track and trace system” despite it “still failing to catch coronavirus cases”, The Sun reports.  

Only 75% of people who tested positive for the virus and were passed on to the NHS system “were reached by tracers and asked to share information of their contacts”, the paper says. And of the contacts who were contacted and told they may be infected with coronavirus, only 73% could be reached and asked to self-isolate. 

The NHS app intended to support the system was later ditched after it failed to detect most contacts. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would work with tech giants Apple and Google to launch a functional app. 

Pressure is growing on the government to launch a public inquiry into spending on the coronavirus response.

Hillier has “warned the government would have to justify the huge price of PPE amid intense scrutiny over its procurement strategy”, The Telegraph says.

Recommended

‘I can’t save every job’: Sunak warns of long, hard winter
Rishi Sunak
In Brief

‘I can’t save every job’: Sunak warns of long, hard winter

Covid-19: everything you need to know about coronavirus
coronavirus.jpg
Coronavirus

Covid-19: everything you need to know about coronavirus

‘F@@@@@g cheek’: Gary Neville hits back at Matt Hancock
Former Man Utd star Gary Neville is now a pundit for Sky Sports
In Brief

‘F@@@@@g cheek’: Gary Neville hits back at Matt Hancock

Indian Wells tennis cancelled - is Wimbledon in danger?
Novak Djokovic kisses the winner’s trophy after beating Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final
In Brief

Indian Wells tennis cancelled - is Wimbledon in danger?

Popular articles

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 Jan 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 27 Jan 2021

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

What do Covid vaccines cost - and who is paying over the odds?
People wait to be vaccinated at Salisbury Cathedral
Getting to grips with . . .

What do Covid vaccines cost - and who is paying over the odds?

Free 6 issue trial then continue to