The cost of travel tests from NHS Test and Trace for people who arrive from abroad into the UK is to be cut, the Health Department has said.
It is to go down from £88 to £68 for UK travellers who have come from green list countries, or those who have arrived from amber list countries and have been fully vaccinated.
The cost for people arriving from amber list countries who are not fully vaccinated is to go down from £170 to £136 for two tests.
I know how much people have looked forward to their summer holidays and I am pleased to announce that with immediate effect we’re slashing the price of day 2 and 8 PCR tests from NHS Test & Trace by a fifth.— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) August 14, 2021
Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid also said there will be a 10-day internal review starting this weekend of the pricing and standards of service from providers of the tests that are to be taken by those who have returned to England on days two and eight of their arrival from abroad.
Mr Javid said that the cost of PCR testing can be “a barrier” to people who were looking forward to taking a summer holiday.
Consumers and families need to be protected from “exploitative practices”, according to Mr Javid, who said he wants to ensure that high quality tests are available at a reasonable price.
NHS Test and Trace advertises these tests alongside private companies’ testing packages and they are available to buy to fulfil the UK Government’s testing requirements for international travel.
Mr Javid said he has ordered his department to urgently review the list of private providers on gov.uk to ensure pricing is clearer and transparent.
He added: “Any provider found to be misleading the public will be kicked off.
“Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop. The public should be allowed to enjoy their summer holidays without having to face excessive costs or anxiety.”
Asleep at wheel
Paul Charles, chief executive of travel consultancy The PC Agency, said ministers have been “asleep at the wheel on this”.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This is an industry that has grown up, that’s worth some £700 million. It’s grown up in the last six months at great speed, but there’s been a lack of oversight or proper regulation.”
He said the process of organising, paying for and carrying out the tests has “too many layers of complexity”.
He added: “It’s putting off consumers. Government is determined to dampen demand, I don’t think there’s any doubt about that.
“But of course, because it’s putting off people, that’s not helping the travel sector recover and we’re likely to see more failures and job losses because ministers have not done enough, along with the regulators, to save the August peak period.”
Not many people were very impressed with the price reduction with many questions if he really had slashed the price.
You're "slashing" them from an exorbitant £88 to an exorbitant £68.— McFlav ?? ?? ??????? (@McFlavour7) August 14, 2021
In Spain they are €11 and in France they are free.
I'm not a native English speaker but methinks that a 20% reduction is not "slashing". pic.twitter.com/HOk4KyFrqF— Fabrizio 'Fab' Fazzino for FaBS ? (@Fab4FaBS) August 14, 2021
"Slashing" ???— Red Dave?#FBPE #FBPA #3.5% (@Red65Dave) August 14, 2021
£68 is still more than places like Boots charge.
It's a scandalous rip-off racket that Tory donors are making a vast profit from.
It's no coincidence that Owen Paterson is employed by Randox
That’s some careful slashing if you only lop off a fifth. I notice such language wasn’t used when furloughed staff pay was reduced by the same percentage.— Alistair King (@Alistair_King) August 14, 2021
“We’re slashing the price of day 2 and 8 PCR tests and we’ll throw in this almost silver cutlery set..” pic.twitter.com/QHJdb2Bt6V— J.R.Hartley’s Armchair. (@JRsArmchair) August 14, 2021
Alexa, define ‘slashing’ https://t.co/SrisxsTnJQ— DUKER (@sophiedukebox) August 14, 2021
Which one of your mates companies is milking the profits off the tests, that’s the burning question here— Mikey ??? (@MikeyTheMoogle) August 14, 2021
Slashing? Cut by a fifth? ? Strange use of the word. pic.twitter.com/ewCbyI5vTb— Angelika ?#ReclaimUKFromTories#FBPE (@aev1609) August 14, 2021
‘Too many providers are acting like cowboys’ pic.twitter.com/CRoCRuMiEv— ProudGranny24 (@ProudGranny24) August 14, 2021