Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1106/31498
Under the microscope
>Test and trace couldn't reach over a third of close contacts earlier this month, according to DHSC figures. The privatised system's worst performance yet meant only getting to 63% of them in the second week of October, missing 81,000 people.
>Top private consultants get almost £7,000 a day to hum and haw over test and trace, reports Sky News. That's equivalent to over £1.5 million a year. The Tory government paid the Boston Consulting Group around £10 million from April to August to guide the dysfunctional privatised system.
>Young people could become a "lost generation", warn members of the government's expert Sage committee. Pandemic "collateral damage" in education, employment and mental health will hit 'Generation Z' hardest. Sage members told the Guardian they feel the Tories have "brushed aside" their concerns on this matter.
>Retail chains closed record-high numbers of shops in Britain during the first half of this year, find the Local Data Company and PwC. Bosses shuttered 11,120 stores between January and June, only opening 5,119 new locations. The net loss of 6,001 shops is the biggest ever, and compares to 3,509 in the first half of 2019. A further 22% of chain stores are still shut 'temporarily'.
>Almost two-thirds of single 20 to 34-year-olds without kids have been unable to move out of their parents' homes, finds Loughborough University. The housing crisis means there are 3.5 million such "boomerang" young adults. 71% in their early 20s, and 54% in their late 20s, have never moved out or had to go back. Private rent took an average 9% of income in 1961, rising to 36% by 2017.
>Meanwhile, house prices have hit a record high, says Rightmove. New listings ask for an average of £323,530, a 5.5% increase or £16,818 more than this time last year. Households which can afford it are driving up demand with a 'race for space' due to pandemic confinement.
>Migrants in England have to wait an average of 37 weeks to receive healthcare, even for serious conditions, reports Doctors of the World. Delays caused by 'hostile environment' policies can cause huge suffering as well as more serious and costly complications.
>Police could be allowed to access personal medical information, seeing if NHS Test and Trace has told individuals to self-isolate. The Department of Health and Social Care issued a 'memorandum of understanding' to the National Police Chiefs' Council, reports the Health Service Journal. The undemocratic invasiveness and potential for abuse are obvious. And doctors' union BMA rightly said: "We are already concerned that some people are deterred from being tested because they are anxious about loss of income should they need to self-isolate - and we are worried should police involvement add to this."
In The Socialist 21 October 2020: