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Caroline Russell suggests Mayor uses taxis for vulnerable Londoners needing Covid tests

October 19, 2020

A press release:

People who can’t physically get to walk-in or drive-through coronavirus testing centres should be given free taxis by TfL, said Caroline Russell today. 
Caroline questioned the Mayor on whether he would do this for older or disabled Londoners who are excluded from at-home testing because they can’t pass the credit reference checks, don’t have a car and can’t physically get to a walk-in testing centre. 
The Mayor said he was ‘happy’ to pass on this idea to his team of negotiators who are currently wrangling with Government to secure a new financial deal to keep TfL afloat during the current crisis. [1] Caroline previously found that up to a million Londoners may be ‘unbanked’ i.e. not have a bank account to help verify their identity through the TransUnion credit reference agency needed to order an at-home test. [2]

Caroline Russell says:
“Up to a million Londoners could be barred from ordering at home tests through no fault of their own. You shouldn’t be blocked from accessing a vital coronavirus test because you don’t have a bank account, a car, or because you are unable to walk far.The current way of getting tests risks leaving some Londoners completely out in the cold, untested and unsure about their health. I’m glad the Mayor is taking this seriously and will add my idea of providing safe, Covid-secure taxis for these Londoners to get tested.”
Caroline Russell, when chair of the London Assembly Economy Committee, published a report, Short-changed: the financial health of Londoners. The report found:

  • Identification requirements still bar some [from accessing bank accounts]. Migrants, gypsies and travellers, homeless people, people leaving abusive partners, young people leaving local authority care, and people with learning difficulties and poor mental health, can all struggle to get access to a bank account if they are unable to provide standard forms of identification to meet money laundering regulations. And despite policy changes to relax the restrictions, some people, such as those living in temporary accommodation, may still be denied access despite having the required documentation.
  • While the number of people with access to a bank account has increased, there is evidence many are choosing not to use them. Estimates suggest around eight million people in the UK have access to a bank account but do not actively use it. In London, this could be as many as a million people.

 The Mayor highlighted a series of problems facing Londoners, including those excluded from credit checks, in his letter to the Prime Minister, published today. [3]

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