Today Boris Johnson announced that from 1 April the provision of free testing would be targeted to only the most vulnerable in the U.K.
The Lib Dems have jumped on it and are trying to make free covid testing a wedge issue between their party and the Conservatives.
Polling shows public funded covid tests to be popular, but that popularity could quickly wane once they stop being freely available and other policy areas emerge that voters deem to be high priority.
The long term success of an anti-paying-for-antigen-test policy depends on two things:
1/ Will there be high levels of virus in the community for another couple of years?
2/ If so, will significant numbers of people start paying for tests?
If the answer is “yes” to both of those questions, it’s a position that will likely have high salience at a future general election and could be a good cognitive shortcut for the Lib Dems on important perceptions like “can trust them to run the NHS”.