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Don't stop cash for Covid tests at work, CBI boss tells PM


Don’t stop cash for Covid tests at work next month, CBI boss Lord Bilimoria tells Prime Minister

One of Britain’s most powerful bosses has called on the Prime Minister to put workplace Covid-19 testing at the centre of efforts to reboot the economy.

Lord Bilimoria, president of the Confederation of British Industry, urged Boris Johnson to extend Government funding for the scheme beyond next month’s cut-off.

GlaxoSmithKline, Siemens and Mitie today also throw their weight behind The Mail on Sunday’s campaign to use testing to get workers safely back into factories, plants, shops and offices.

Lord Bilimoria has called on the PM to extend Government funding for workplace Covid testing

Lord Bilimoria has called on the PM to extend Government funding for workplace Covid testing

In total, firms representing more than 350,000 staff have now backed our Tests at Work campaign.

The Government’s workplace testing programme gives companies with at least 50 staff free swab kits to identify cases in workers with no symptoms. The tests take less than 30 minutes to return a result.

Over the past month, The Mail on Sunday has revealed the programme’s huge success at titans including John Lewis and steelmaker Tata, where it has averted thousands of sick days for those who cannot work from home, as well as potential site shutdowns.

But the scheme is set to end on March 31 – only weeks after thousands of businesses have begun regular testing. Latest figures show more than 2,000 organisations have enrolled on to the programme, rocketing from 412 last week.

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Cobra beer founder Lord Bilimoria says by the end of March ‘much of the economy will still be facing restrictions’ and so ‘Government support will have to continue beyond that point’.

In an article today, Lord Bilimoria adds Boris Johnson should use workplace testing as a ‘key part of our armoury for the economic restart’. 

British Chambers of Commerce director general Adam Marshall said: ‘Businesses need certainty that funding for tests will continue throughout 2021, as well as be extended to firms with fewer than 50 employees who will be crucial to supporting our economic recovery.’



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