Almost £11 million wasted on abandoned contact tracing app

Monday July 6th 2020

Coronavirus


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

The UK Government spent £10.8million on developing the NHSX contact tracing app that was ditched after trial on the Isle of Wight, a parliamentary question from Owen Thompson MP has revealed.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised the UK would have a “world-beating” contact tracing system in place by June 1 with the centralised contact tracing app central to the strategy. Health Secretary Matt Hancock even declared it would be a “civic duty” to download the app before the plans were quietly abandoned.

After months in development, the NHSX app was first due to be rolled out across England in mid-May before it was delayed and then scrapped in favour of using Google and Apple’s technology. The app had been found on trial to detect only four per cent of iPhones it came into contact with and had difficulties detecting how far away another phone was.

Mr Thompson said

“We were promised a ‘world-beating’ track and trace system but yet again the Prime Minister squandered money and failed to deliver. This is another example of the mis-management from the UK Government of the Covid19 response.

“Scientists and researchers flagged many issues with the UK Government’s home-grown system, both with security concerns and the technicalities. People warned it wouldn’t work but we know this government prefers to ignore the experts.

“At a time of national emergency it’s a great pity that so much time, effort and money was wasted on this botched project before it was abandoned.”

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