To: Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport
Free NHS COVID testing for British residents arriving back in the UK
When travel reopens, the government will require all arrivals to the UK to pay for compulsory COVID testing. This petition is calling for British taxpayers to be allowed to access free NHS testing services.
Why is this important?
Testing is an NHS service British taxpayers already pay for and should be entitled to access it whatever the reason.
It’s discriminatory: No other activity deemed “risky” by the government requires people to pay for testing eg if contacted by Test and Trace after a pub or cinema visit, testing is free. Why should travellers be different?
It’s more efficient and safer: The NHS testing system is well established and efficient. Even at very low levels of uptake the private providers have failed to deliver a service of a similar standard. On performance so far it seems unlikely they could scale it efficiently which puts the testing efficacy at risk
It balances health and economic risk: Private testing will significantly flatten demand for overseas travel particularly amongst low income families. By making testing free for British taxpayers it gives the travel sector a real chance to build itself back up and secure the jobs of hundreds of thousands of people who depend on it, whilst providing the government with scientific data on which to monitor variants