A new lucrative contract for private giant Serco to run test-and-trace services should be stopped, Labour says – arguing the stakes are too high to “tolerate failure”.
The government is urged not to shell out a further £300m in a decision due later this month, amid rising criticism of the company’s failure to find and isolate coronavirus cases.
Instead, the system should be led by local public health leaders, who have proved they are more successful in tracing the contacts of infected people, Labour said.
The call comes after it was revealed that just 56 per cent of close contacts handled online or by call centres run by Serco and Sitel, a second private firm used, are being reached.
In stark contrast, 90 per cent were contacted by Blackburn with Darwen Council, one of a growing number of exasperated town halls now setting up their own systems.