The price of coronavirus travel tests has actually escalated over the past week despite repeated Government promises to drive down the cost, the Mail can reveal.
Even though ministers have repeatedly pledged to make travel testing more affordable, the official government website for booking ‘gold standard’ PCR tests has instead seen prices rise by 60 per cent.
Analysis shared with the Mail suggests the average cost for a package of two PCR tests advertised by the 50 cheapest government-approved providers was £46 on Thursday.
But last night it stood at £75 – an increase of 63 per cent in just four days.
And in reality, the true cost facing families is likely to be much higher – with the average price usually twice as high as the one listed once the tests are actually booked.
Analysis shared with the Mail suggests the average cost for a package of two PCR tests advertised by the 50 cheapest government-approved providers was £46 on Thursday. But last night it stood at £75 – an increase of 63 per cent in just four days (Pictured: Citoswab Coronavirus Home Test Kit)
This is because, when holidaymakers click through to the companies’ websites, many of the cheapest packages are unavailable – pushing the average price of a two-swab home test package to about £117.
Currently, people returning from amber list countries who are not fully vaccinated must quarantine for ten days and take a PCR test on days two and eight of their self-isolation.
The requirements are adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of family holidays.
Even those who have had both jabs need at least one PCR test after returning to the UK.
These requirements are adding hundreds of pounds to the cost of family holidays, but there has been little in the way of concrete action to reduce the bill for travellers.
The cost of tests could be immediately slashed if the Treasury heeded calls to remove VAT of 20 per cent, but sources last night suggested such a move was no longer being considered.
In a sign that fatalities may start to flatten out or even fall within the next week, Covid hospital admissions fell by nearly 20 per cent in England. Some 593 infected patients were admitted for medical treatment on July 31, the most recent day NHS figures are available for. For comparison, 734 patients were hospitalised the previous Saturday
Removing VAT would reduce the average price of a two-swab home test package from £117 to £97.50.
It comes as research suggested 17million people are considering going abroad this summer – meaning the Government stands to make £476million in VAT on holiday tests.
Last night Avi Lasarow, of testing firm Prenetics, said: ‘Our research shows if the Government removed VAT, it would not only pay for the flights of a family of four travelling to Majorca, it would also stimulate demand and provide a much needed boost for the hard-hit UK travel industry.’
He called on other firms to promise to pass on potential VAT savings to consumers too.
Yesterday Heathrow chief John Holland-Kaye also urged the Government to ‘get rid of the requirement for everyone to have a PCR test and replace it with a cheaper, simpler lateral flow test and only use the PCR test if people test positive, for genomic purposes’.