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The SNP’s Westminster leader urged the Prime Minister to issue more funds for Scotland, claiming failing to do so would “put Scotland’s economic recovery at risk”. But Boris Johnson blasted in response: “I respectfully remind the Rt. Honourable Gentleman that Scotland has so far received as part of our UK campaign against coronavirus £3.8 billion now in barnet consequential.
“A fact, that I’m sure is seldom off his lips in his discussions with his SNP colleagues.
“We will continue to invest massively in Scotland because Scotland like the whole of the UK benefits from being part of the oldest and most successful political partnership anywhere in the world.
“And I congratulate the SNP, by the way, on their U-turn on education and getting kids back to school.”
Mr Blackford also said the health and economic emergency following the Covid-19 outbreak requires an “unprecedented response”.
He said: “On Monday, the Scottish Government’s economic advisory group led by independent business leaders published their initial analysis to secure a strong recovery. Will the Prime Minister welcome these efforts in finding a way forward out of this economic crisis?”
To which Mr Johnson replied: “Yes indeed, I will be only too happy to study the documents to which he refers.”
Taking questions from Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer, the Prime Minister said the NHS Test and Trace team have so far contacted 87,000 people.
Sir Keir Starmer said: “Yesterday the Government announced the next stage of easing lockdown restrictions. If that plan is to work, and we want it to work, we need an effective track, trace and isolate system.
“The Prime Minister promised a world-beating system would be in place by 1 June. The latest figures from yesterday’s press conference hosted by the Prime Minister show that 33,000 people are estimated to have Covid-19 in England.
“The latest track, trace and isolate figures show that just over 10,000 people with Covid-19 were reached and asked to provide contact details.
“I do recognise the hard work that has gone into this, but if two-thirds of those with Covid-19 are not being reached and asked to provide contact details, there’s a big problem, isn’t there?”
Mr Johnson replied: “On the contrary, I think (Sir Keir Starmer) has been stunned by the success of the Test and Trace operation and, contrary to his prognostications of gloom, it has got up and running, I think, much faster than the doubters expected.”
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Sir Keir Starmer said the economy cannot be reopened without a successful track and trace system.
“The Prime Minister risks making the mistakes he made at the beginning of the pandemic, brushing aside challenge, dashing forward, not estimating properly the risks,” said the Labour leader.
“If two-thirds of those with Covid-19 are not being contacted that is a big problem, because if we don’t get track, trace and isolate properly running we can’t open the economy, we can’t prevent infection spreading.”
He added: “What is the Government’s strategy for closing the gap between the number of people with Covid-19 and those going into the system, not what happens to those that go into the system?”
Boris Johnson replied: “The 33,000 cases in the country is, of course, an estimate. What NHS Test and Trace is doing is contacting the vast majority of those who test positive and their own contacts and getting them to self-isolate, and it is a formidable achievement.”
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