The Workers Union has issued a stern rebuke to local councils, telling them to “get on” with managing Coronavirus.
The Chief Spokesman for the Workers Union, Johnathan Morgan said: ‘We understand that test and trace has presented many issues. We get that central government have been slow to deliver a cohesive response to controlling outbreaks of COVID-19. However, it’s time that councils took ownership of this and delivered for local people.’
The statement comes after councils such as Hull City and East Riding revealed that they are launching their own test and trace service. This will utilise existing national resources, but deal with contact tracing on a local basis.
Mr Morgan said: ‘The government announced that it was to extend partnership working with councils nearly 4 weeks ago. This was designed to make sure that local public health officials had access to important data. The chair of NHS Test and Trace, Dido Harding, backed the initiative and said that the national scheme does not “operate alone” and must be “local by default.”’
‘Despite this it seems likely that the system is struggling to provide rapid information to regional teams. That’s why councils everywhere should move towards a hybrid system that encourages information sharing and partnership working. We owe working people – many of whom are putting themselves at risk by honouring their commitments to their employers – that much at least.’
More resources are essential
Mr Morgan went on to argue that criticism of local authorities must be set against their dire financial situation.
‘A recent article published by the Institute for Fiscal Studies claimed that councils face an additional £2 billion funding black hole as the costs of COVID-19 bite hard. The only way of dealing with this is for central government to help address the shortfall. If we fail to see any positive action, nobody should be surprised if essential services are badly hit.
‘Decimating already tightly squeezed budgets will have ruinous consequences for the poor and the vulnerable. For that reason alone, the cabinet should be asking themselves whether there’s any moral case for withholding money where it is desperately needed.’
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union