View from the house: Give local authorities greater power over virus testing

MP Dawn Butler is arguing for a decentralised approach towards Covid.

MP Dawn Butler is arguing for a decentralised approach towards Covid. - Credit: Archant

Brent has done an amazing job when it comes to handling the Covid-19 pandemic, from purchasing PPE to testing and shielding constituents.

We have a long way to go, with cases rising and as we head into a second London lockdown, however I’m thankful to all involved – our frontline workers, NHS, police, ambulance, cleaners, support staff, refuse collectors, firefighters and more.

I had the opportunity to question the prime minister in the House of Commons.

I used this to highlight the mistakes that have been made by this government, as well as to speak up for Brent and our handling of the crisis.

Instead of supporting the established public health system in this country, the government invested £10bn into private companies. Sadly, we have seen this strategy has not controlled the virus, saved lives or rebuilt the economy.

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However, I am proud of the work that has been done in Brent. Our wonderful CEO, Carolyn Downs, and leader of the council, Mo Butt, had control of local testing.

We were able to test people very quickly and in surrounding areas. Yet the government has taken the majority of the testing away.

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People have been told they have to travel miles to get tested and care workers have waited 7 days to get their test results.

I stood in parliament and asked the prime minister to stop his obsession with the centralised approach – and go for the decentralised approach that works.

I hope that the prime minister will finally listen.

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