Lewisham Foodbank contacted me and my colleagues Janet Daby MP and Ellie Reeves MP earlier this month raising concern that under current Government policy, they are not eligible for free lateral flow test kits.
Ellie, Janet and I agree that volunteers, staff and customers of such front line services must be protected from the spread of infection. We have written to Health Secretary Sajid Javid requesting our foodbanks are offered LFTs free of charge.
Full text of this letter is as follows:
Re: Access to Lateral Flow Tests for Lewisham Foodbank
We are writing on behalf of the hard-working volunteers at Lewisham Foodbank in our respective constituencies who remain at risk from Covid-19.
The Volunteer Co-ordinator explains in their attached email that their foodbanks rely on around 200 volunteers a week to distribute 16 tonnes of food to the most vulnerable in our communities. Without ready access to lateral flow tests, the foodbanks cannot protect their teams and those reliant on their service from infection.
As the cost of living crisis continues to bite, we fear that more of our constituents will be forced to attend foodbanks for charitable handouts. If the staff and volunteers of our foodbanks cannot access LFTs free of charge then as infections circulate, they will struggle to cope with an increased demand.
Will the Government ensure public facing services like Lewisham Foodbanks are supplied with LFTs at no cost?
Vicky Foxcroft MP, Janet Daby MP and Ellie Reeves MP