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Serco test and trace ‘failed its main objective’, says spending watchdog

The government’s test-and-trace system, run by Serco and several other private providers, has failed to achieve “its main objective” to cut infection levels and help Britain return to normal despite being handed an “eye-watering” £37bn in taxpayers’ cash, the Commons spending watchdog has stated.

Test and trace was set up in May 2020 as the UK emerged from the first lockdown. It was led by Dido Harding, a Conservative peer and businesswoman who previously worked for Tesco and TalkTalk. She was appointed by the then health secretary, Matt Hancock, who praised her “brilliant” work on the pandemic.

In a damning report, the public accounts committee concluded that system run by contractors “has not achieved its main objective to help break chains of Covid-19 transmission and enable people to return towards a more normal way of life” despite receiving about 20% of the NHS’s entire annual budget – £37 bn – over two years.

Full story in The Guardian, 27 October 2021

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