By Ron Howells • 09 August 2021 • 10:42
UK government watchdog to investigate “excessive fees” for Covid travel tests
UK government watchdog says it intends to investigate the “excessive fees” being charged for Covid travel tests.
Britain’s competition watchdog says it will look into the “excessive fees” regarding COVID-19 testing for travellers after Health Secretary Sajid Javid complained that high prices for the government-mandated tests were preventing some people from going on their holidays.
PCR tests required for most travellers average about £75 – €88 each, or around £300 – €353 for a family of four, however, it has been discovered that many firms are charging significantly more.
Prices quoted by providers listed on the government website range from £17 – €20 to €250 £294.
The Health Secretary said he had asked the Competition and Markets Authority to crack down on “unfair market practices” by test providers.
“People should be able to go on holiday, whether it’s to see family or just to relax, without fearing excessive fees for PCR tests,’’ he said on Twitter.
The watchdog has the authority to intervene directly when it uncovers unfair practices but it can also provide advice directly to ministers, allowing them to take swifter action.
“We have all experienced enormous disruption to our lives over this pandemic, but it is not right if some families experience yet further disruption unnecessarily because of potentially unfair practices in the market for private travel tests.
“It is important that the sensible measures we have introduced at the borders are fair and transparent and don’t involve unnecessary costs or low-quality provision to people who have made so many sacrifices during this pandemic.
“I would be grateful if you would provide me with advice on what further steps we might take to stamp out any exploitative behaviour in this market and would also urge you to take action to prevent such exploitation where you can under your existing powers,” said Mr Javid in a letter to CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli.
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Ron actually started his working career as an Ophthalmic Technician- things changed when, during a band rehearsal, his amplifier blew up and he couldn’t get it fixed so he took a course at Birmingham University and ended up doing a degree course. He built up a chain of electronics stores and sold them as a franchise over 35 years ago. After five years touring the world Ron decided to move to Spain with his wife and son, a place they had visited over the years, and only bought the villa they live in because it has a guitar-shaped swimming pool!.
Playing the guitar since the age of 7, he can often be seen, (and heard!) at beach bars and clubs along the length of the coast. He has always been interested in the news and constantly thrives to present his articles in an interesting and engaging way.
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