Senior Conservative MPs are urging the government to set the price of Covid travel testing at £40.
The government should set PCR tests at roughly £40 and eliminate them for travelers returning from “low-risk” nations, according to Henry Smith, head of the all-party Future of Aviation Committee.
In a Telegraph article, he stated: “The rationale for the testing regime looks increasingly dubious. Why not, instead, sample a random group of arrivals rather than require everyone to pay for tests frequently run by shoddy companies failing to deliver tests on time and guilty of making hugely misleading price claims?”
The demand came as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it “plans to identify the underlying concerns and advise on steps that can be taken” within the next month, implying that no action will be done until after the summer peak.
In a letter to health minister Sajid Javid, transport select committee chair Huw Merriman – a vociferous critic of the “rip-off” charges – questioned why so few PCR testing firms on the government’s list of suppliers have been accredited.
He stated, “The high cost, poor quality, and lack of sequencing from PCR tests needs to be urgently addressed by the government. They are an unnecessary barrier to affordable international travel.”
Former Cabinet minister David Davis suggested that capping test costs to prevent profiteering and eliminating the 20% VAT fee for PCR testing, which the government claims is necessary to prevent the import of virus variations, would be “absolutely sensible.”
“These tests are in the public interest, not the individual interest. There’s an entirely logical, morally and ethically justifiable reason for controlling the cost and for the state to make a contribution,” he said.
The chairman of the Conservative backbench committee in 1922, Sir Graham Brady, said: “Analysis of test results shows fewer positive test results than in the general population. If the Government is mandating so many tests, then it should also require providers to offer them at a reasonable cost.”
A Conservative member of the transport committee, Simon Jupp, said: “Capping the cost of tests must be the way forward to ensure a trip abroad is affordable for everyone.
“I’m really glad the health secretary is demanding a rapid audit of companies providing tests at astronomical prices. The rip-off merchants must be stopped.”
The government said that from August 16, anyone in England who has been double jabbed will no longer be legally obligated to self-isolate if pinged, as other MPs backed the move.
Instead, they’ll be told to get a PCR test, minimize their contact with others, and wear a face mask in confined settings.
While they await the results of the PCR test, they will not be obliged to self-isolate.
Javid stated, “Thanks to the huge success of the vaccine program, we are able to ease self-isolation requirements for double jabbed people and under 18s. It is important that close contacts continue to come forward for a PCR test, in order to detect the virus and variants of concern.”
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