We fully support the mass testing initiative announced for Liverpool. We are at a pivotal moment in the pandemic for the health and wellbeing of our community and our economy. Mass testing provides us with an opportunity to drive down transmission and infection rates and hopefully come out of national lockdown into a lower tier ahead of Christmas. It is in all of our interests – saving lives and protecting jobs and livelihoods. Businesses in Liverpool have a unique role to play in this in encouraging and supporting staff and suppliers to make time for testing, to follow public health advice and to help ensure that they are not financially disadvantaged for doing so. So we are calling on employers in Liverpool to take the lead in promoting and adopting this initiative and to support staff who get tested or are required to self-isolate due to increased testing, tracking and tracing. We recognise that every business is different and that many are suffering serious financial challenges and fighting for survival through the pandemic. So we are asking businesses to do all they reasonably can in these challenging circumstances and where possible to consider the following: Paying workers who test positive or who are asked to self-isolate by track and trace as fully as possible Ensuring staff who need to be off sick are paid sick pay from day 1 of sickness It is also vital for our businesses and their staff that the Test and Trace Support Payment Scheme is readily available to all individuals who suffer financial hardship as a result of having to self isolate following a positive local Covid Test. This Government initiative, administered through the Local Authority, offers £500 grant on top of any benefits or statutory sick pay that the individual receives to support the most vulnerable and lowest paid in our community. It is vital with the move to mass local testing that sufficient resource for this scheme and its administration is given to our Local Authority by Government to enable it to operate as quickly and effectively as possible. Taken together these measures can make a considerable contribution to the success of this vital initiative and to taking greater control locally of this dreadful pandemic.