Profiteering testing companies threatened with removal from official list, as travel bosses say holidays will be “just something for the wealthy”.
The Transport Secretary said: “I won’t spare those those companies that seem to be profiteering, including potentially removing them from the recommended list.”
He added that he would be working with the travel industry to “drive down the cost” of tests, as he reiterated: ” I think that cost should be cheaper for those private tests, I’ll be driving that down in the next couple of weeks, where we can, and potentially even removing providers if they’re not playing ball, because I don’t want to see people being ripped off.”
It comes as Mr Shapps said summer holidays are “definitely closer”, despite criticism over the cost of tests for travel.
The Transport Secretary said this morning that “before” May 17th the Government will announce whether travel abroad can “resume on the 17th of May”.
He said: “I’m not telling people that they shouldn’t book summer holidays now, it’s the first time I’ve been able to say that for many months.”
Mr Shapps added that “there are risks with Coronavirus” and advised that, with the new traffic light system due to come into practice, people “would want to be clear about which countries are going to be in the different traffic light system and people predominantly of course will be looking to book in a green country. “
“For the first time, people can start to think about visiting loved ones abroad, or perhaps a summer holiday,” he told Sky News.
Follow the latest updates below.
Heathrow chief exec says added costs of tests “makes no sense”
John Holland-Kaye has been doing a media round this morning responding to the latest travel news.
While he said there was “good news” that flying will be opened up from May 17, and considered a the risk-based approach with this traffic light system was “a good step forward,” he expressed concern about the added cost of testing.
He said: “If you are a British citizen, you’ve been fully vaccinated, and are going to somewhere low risk such as Israel or the United States, not only do you have to have a test before you get on the plane coming back to show that you don’t have Covid, you then have to take an expensive PCR test after you arrive to demonstrate again.
“Most people would say: ‘That makes no sense, that’s a £150 bill I shouldn’t have to be paying when I’ve already demonstrated I don’t have Covid’.”
It’s the Friday news everyone was hoping for: Summer holidays are “definitely closer” than they have been in months.
The Transport Secretary, while cautious, said that he would no longer be advising against people booking holidays. However, such travel come with a price tag and as reported on The Telegraph’s front page this morning, which details how travelers who want to visit countries on the safe “green list” will still be expected to pay for gold standard PCR tests on their return to the UK at around £120 each – an extra cost of almost £500 for a family of four.
At 9am the Government will release its report into travel and we will be gutting it here in the blog for you.
Away from Westminster, unrest continues in Northern Ireland, with police having used water canon last night on rioters and Joe Biden, US President, intervened and called for calm.
Meanwhile, calls continue for former Prime Minister David Cameron to speak about texts the Chancellor sent him which stated he had ‘pushed the team’ to explore helping Greensill.
Stay tuned as it’s certain to be a busy day.