COVID tests for British holidaymakers could fall below £50 in new plans considered by the Treasury, it has been revealed.
The HMRC is looking to exempt private tests for summer holidaymakers from VAT – saving families hundreds of pounds.
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Gold standard PCR tests administered or overseen by a registered nurse will be exempt from VAT, the Telegraph reported.
Senior sources told the media outlet that the Treasury could go further and full exempt the tests from the tax which can add 20 percent to the price which ranges from £60 to £300 per test.
This means that holidaymakers could save roughly £40 and £240 for a family of four for a single test each.
While holidays are yet to be given the go-ahead by the government, it is hoped that overseas travel will resume from May 17 through a traffic light system.
Countries will be placed on green, amber or red lists depending on how high or low risk their Covid situation.
However, even “green” countries, which will be able to skip quarantine, will require two tests when returning to the country.
Last week testing firm Randox confirmed that they would be working with major UK airlines to allow travellers to pay just £60 per test instead of £120.
They have already partnered with easyJet to offer the £60 PCR rests, while previously working with Thomas Cook to offer discounted tests for £85.
Randox managing director Dr Peter FitzGerald said: “In recognition of the needs of both the travel industry and the British public at this unprecedented time, Randox will reduce the all-inclusive cost of PCR testing for those in the UK undertaking international travel to £60 per test.
“We can see the pressures faced by both the travel industry and the general public and are committed to effective and economical testing to support holidaymakers and those undertaking international travel.”
It follows concerns that the test requirement will still price out families this summer.
Johan Lundgren, chief executive of easyJet, warned that the Government’s plan to require holidaymakers returning from “green” countries to take tests pre-departure and post-arrival will only open up international travel “for people who can afford it”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “It should not be needed to put any more complexities and cost in order to travel to and from those destinations, but what the Government came up with yesterday was that they were looking to introduce a two-test system, which means that, even in those green countries, that green category of destinations, you would still need to take on additional cost to do so.
“If the Government was choosing to take one of those PCR tests, (of) which the cost is way over and above what the cost is of an average easyJet fare as an example, you wouldn’t open up international travel for everyone, you would open up international travel for people who can afford it.”
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Brits’ foreign holiday hopes have been dealt a major blow after it emerged the EU’s vaccine drive could be delayed by two months.
Meanwhile, Greece announced that they will be welcoming vaccinated Virus back from next week, without travel restrictions.
And travellers arriving at Heathrow are being forced to queue for up to six hours to due coronavirus checks at the border, an airport executive has said.