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They weren’t free.

Today marks the last day that free Covid tests (both PCR and LFT) are available without direct cost. For many people, they have just magically appeared, to be used liberally, at no cost to themselves. After all, remember we were told that the virus could be symptomless? There is still no connection in their brains between the hundreds of tests they took and the spiralling cost of living that they moan about now. From tomorrow, they will have to be bought directly, apart from a few groups of people. It will certainly focus a few minds.

Mainstream media has been telling us that infections and hospitalisations with the virus have been rising in recent weeks. So many posts on social media showing pictures of positive test results seem to back that up, yet for the vast majority, it is an inconvenience as they wait till their cold-like symptoms wear off and they can get back to school, work, or whatever.

Even for those in hospital, more than half of cases who test positive are there for something else, rather than Covid itself. “Your leg is broken sir; can we just test you for Covid?” Not to mention patients at the end of their lives, ravaged with cancer or some other equally horrible condition, that were tested in order to boost statistics.

The general public may have been discouraged from stockpiling test packs, but since the government announced the end of the free testing programme for most of the population it has been difficult for many to find any. Some will have multiple packs of tests, of course, and will be able to utilise as they think necessary. But others will have failed to find any spares in a rush that didn’t quite match the need for toilet roll but was certainly more than a brief flurry of activity.

So, it is fair to assume that headline cases will gradually slide – as they will in the march towards summer anyway. What will be left with us is the cost of these and other measures; rampant inflation, decreasing economic activity and and a public debt that needs £80bn a year to service it.

They were never free.

Martin Day - Party Secretary

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