Petition launches to end ‘holiday tax’ on Covid tests required to travel abroad

Boris Johnson discusses future of coronavirus travel restrictions

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A petition has gone up demanding the end of the 20 per cent VAT charge on covid tests conducted by the private sector which only the NHS is exempt from. The petition can be found at and is aimed at getting the cost of individual tests down to less than £50. Currently, if people want to travel abroad they have to take a covid test before they leave and then two more when the return to Britain.

At three tests per person, a family of four can end up with having to take 12 tests between them.

With tests currently costing around £60 each it means people are left with bills of potentially hundreds of pounds on top of their other travel costs.

North Thanet Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale is leading a push to scrap VAT on covid tests which are carried out by the private sector.

He said: “At £60 each that is a lot of money on top of the cost of a holiday.

“We have to bring the cost of tests down, progress has been made but if the Government gets rid of VAT on them then that will bring them below £50 which is where we need to be.”

He went on: “I know that the government is encouraging staycations to help boost the domestic economy but we need to get people going abroad on holiday as well to boost the economy.”

Airline companies and holiday firms have all been badly hit by lockdown and are looking to get the travel industry going again.

Avi Lasarow, chief executive of Prenetics UK, leaders in digital health and diagnostics which provides PCR testing for the Premier League and many airports and organisations internationally, is leading a campaign to remove VAT from all tests and Covid-related medicines, whether provided by the NHS or doctors, where VAT does not apply), or the private sector (where it does apply).

He said: “We have a passion to help Britain get back to work, travel, and play, and the government testing regime for overseas travel is fully supported by timely and accurate testing, which means PCR home testing before and post travel.  

“We are all in this together, it is inconsistent that families should pay the additional cost of VAT by self-testing in a way which benefits the NHS by keeping the diaries of our doctors and nurses free.  There is a double benefit to the country of removing this discriminatory tax.”

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